Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has better chances at Scone on Saturday, but none will mean more than Excelamour if she can win the $400,000 Inglis Guineas (1400m).
Lees and Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock have Excelamour and Tycoon Street in the race, which is the richest of the two-day Scone carnival.
Both will be long odds, but Excelamour, at least, will not be short of supporters.
Australian Bloodstock gave a five per cent share of Excelamour to children’s charity Variety, and Lees has waived his training costs to the organisation.
Excelamour, which will have Newcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons aboard, won the $100,000 Inglis 2YO Challenge at the Scone carnival last year and she will chase the $227,600 3YO first prize on Saturday.
“It would be a good little booster if she could upset them," Australian Bloodstock co-director said of the potential donation to Variety of close to $12,000.
Excelamour has not won in six starts since the Scone victory and was fifth first-up at Gosford on April 25.
“She’s just been a little filly that’s taken a while to mature,” Murrell said. “She’s no superstar, but they are both just trying to get there and run second, third or fourth, and that will help their pedigree.”
Lees runners figure prominently at Scone, where he has Sasso Corbaro as one of the top picks in the listed Denise’s Joy Stakes. He also has Invincible Gem in the listed Luskin Star Stakes and Danish Twist and Nurse Kitchen in the group 3 Dark Jewel Classic.
AAP reports: Given the significant role Sons Of John has played in trainer Jason Attard's career, it is no surprise the gelding has been given ample time to get over a tendon injury.
The seven-year-old was the Hawkesbury-based Attard's first Group One runner in the 2015 Epsom Handicap in which he ran third behind Winx and Ecuador.
At his previous start, Sons Of John went within a head of beating Winx in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes with the mare going on to become the world's highest racehorse.
A dual Group Three winner, Sons Of John was diagnosed with the tendon issue after finishing runner-up in the Group Three JRA Plate (2000m) on heavy ground at Randwick in April last year.
He makes his long-awaited comeback in Saturday's Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone.
"It wasn't a major injury but we've done everything by the book to give him every chance," Attard said.
"We've played it safe and it's great to have him back. This will be too short for him, but it's a starting point to see whether we go to Brisbane."
Attard had nominated Sons Of John for the Group One Doomben Cup (2000m) next Saturday but he will stay closer to home for two or three runs before heading north.
Sons Of John was a $23 chance with the TAB on Friday while Godolphin's in-form Osborne Bulls was the $2.30 favourite to win at his first crack at a black-type race.
Jockey Jay Ford shares Attard's realistic expectations for Sons Of John who rides in a race for the first time after being aboard for two lead-up trials.
"He's been off the scene for a while now, so you just want to see him do everything right," he said.
"He'll get back and as long as he gets out and finds the line, it's a starting point to step up in distance.
"In his best form he's a very capable galloper and I expect him to run a pretty competitive race."
The field was trimmed to 12 on Friday when Newcastle trainer Kris Lees opted to run Le Romain in Saturday's Group One Doomben 10,000 in Brisbane.
Moss Trip poised for Brisbane trip
Trainer Peter Snowden is confident Moss Trip is set to thrive among emerging talent in Scone and rubberstamp a Queensland winter carnival campaign.
Buoyed by the three-year-old's first stakes win in the Group Three J H B Carr Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last month, Snowden expects another imposing performance in Saturday's $400,000 Inglis Guineas (1400m).
"She looks fantastic. She doesn't look like she wants a spell at all," he said.
"After her win (in the Carr) I identified Scone straight away. This will determine whether she goes to Brisbane.
"I'm thinking 'You're only three once' and some more black-type up there puts more residual value into her for later on."
Snowden said 1350m assignments in the Group Three Fred Best Classic, Group Two Dane Ripper Stakes and Group One Tatt's Tiara were on the wishlist for Moss Trip.
The Inglis Guineas will be Moss Trip's sixth start this preparation though her runs have been spaced.
Moss Trip led the TAB market on Friday at $2.80 with Villermont, from Ciaron Maher's Caulfield stable, the $3.50 second elect.
Brenton Avdulla reunites with Moss Trip after Kerrin McEvoy was in the saddle for her last start.
"She's definitely in good enough form and I don't think it's a strong race," Avdulla said.
Peter Snowden and son Paul, also saddle up Assimilate ($7) in the expectation the colt will bounce back from a flat ninth in the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on April 7.
"He was plain last start so he's had a short break with this race in mind," Snowden said.
Cradle Mountain climbs one step at a time
Trainer Clare Cunningham is no rush to push a bargain basement buy to the top echelon, as Cradle Mountain continues to make his way steadily through the grades.
A four-race unbeaten streak can warrant a step up to a stakes race but after one metropolitan win on Anzac Day, Cunningham is not setting the bar too high.
His jockey, Cunningham's partner Jason Colleett, said the gelding would continue to make small steps.
"He's working his way towards black-type but we don't want to jump too far ahead of ourselves just yet," Collett said.
"It's very tempting but he is a gelding so there's not the pressure there'd be if it was a filly or a mare."
A $4000 buy at the Scone sales in 2015, Cradle Mountain returns to the breeding epicentre for Saturday's Vinery Handicap (1100m) in which he is the early favourite.
After three wins at Goulburn, Canberra and Kembla Grange in his last preparation, Cradle Mountain won his Sydney debut at Randwick and now he takes on Saturday metropolitan grade on day two of the Scone Carnival.
"It's small steps, but he keeps performing each time. He did it easy on Anzac Day," Collett said.
Quoted at $1.60 with the TAB on Friday, Cradle Mountain has recorded all four wins over 1200m but Collett has no concerns about the slight drop back in distance.
"He's got good barrier speed, but he doesn't have to lead, so I've got options," he said.
Godolphin gelding Malahat was the only other runner in single figures at $5.
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