VERSETTO - The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Foreign Territory having his first start in the Airpak Sheet Metal CG&E Maiden Handicap (1100m) is all the rage in early betting however will need to be on his game to beat the Bjorn Baker-trained Versetto. A three-year-old son of Your Song, Versetto has been to the races on two occasions finishing third at Wyong on debut in his only first preparation run when backed from $2.40 to $2 10 before turning in a “be on me next time” run when fourth in a metropolitan classified maiden at Scone on the first day of the Cup Carnival resuming last start. After launching from barrier four, Versetto found himself four and five wide without cover through the run, admittedly somewhat of his own doing as the gelding had a tendency to hang out in the run, however battled on strongly finishing just over a length from the winner in fourth spot. With plenty of scope for improvement at just his third career start and second run this time in, Versetto will test the favourite to the limit.
DANTE ROSSETTI I am taking on the Waterhouse and Bott stable in the day’s opener however keen to be with them in the Byrne Pipe and Civil Benchmark 62 Handicap (1600m) where I reckon they have the bet of the day in the Sebring three-year-old Dante Rossetti. Part owned by Lizzie Spender, the wife of Aussie entertainment icon Barry Humphries, Dante Rosetti was a Kembla maiden winner in his first preparation before contesting the Derby trial and Geelong Classic during the Melbourne Spring. Although backed from $6.50 to $4 resuming at Kembla on May 17, Dante Rossetti found the 1600m first-up beyond him, however it is likely to be a different scenario on Saturday with the run under his belt. The blinkers are back on and it looks a case of first out first home for Dante Rossetti.
NOW YOU SEE - Now You See was unwanted in the market and ran accordingly at Gatton. He is much better than that as his previous four outings in good city company show and the three-week break since last outing has given him a chance to freshen up. Now You See returns to his home track at which he has won two of three outings and with Beau Appo to ride should be on the speed throughout in this Benchmark 65 over a highly suitable 1050m. The Ben Currie stable has been under plenty of pressure of late and on home turf in race one Now You See can make a statement.
DEVILS PINCH = Devils Pinch has been improved by two outings since joining the Lindsay Hatch stable. He has performed well on both occasions with a runner-up effort first-up over 900m followed by a close-up fourth over 1000m at Sunshine Coast both outings being in class five. He has won three times over 1200m and looks well placed in this Benchmark 75 over 1200m with Michael Schrapel claiming 2kg. From gate five the rider should have him on the speed throughout and be hard to pass over the final stages.
ESTRELLA FELLA - Trained by John Manzelmann, Estrella Fella has had an interesting time of it since coming North. In Victoria he was a consistent performer placing at four of six starts and being close-up on all occasions. On that form, I would expect to break maiden status in North Queensland quite quickly but that has been far from the case. At his first start he blew like a gale in the betting and ran accordingly, then was supported and beaten as odds-on favourite at Cairns before a good effort at Townsville when second. That was his third run in a month and Estrella Fella was given a six-week break. He resumed with a dismal effort here when unwanted in the market and if he follows his pattern can improve dramatically second-up. His best run in Victoria came over this distance at Cranbourne and with Brad Pengelly to ride from gate two I am expecting him to be on the speed and prove hard to pass.