Doncaster Mile favourite Mugatoo will be Kris Lees’ headline runner at Randwick but the trainer has two capable support acts in import Collide and filly Never Talk.
A Listed winner over 2500 metres in Europe, Collide made an encouraging Australian debut when third behind subsequent Mornington Cup winner Mount Popa and Sacramento in the Randwick City Stakes last month.
But from a wide draw last start, he settled back in the field and was never in contention to finish down the track behind Favourite Moon in the Manion Cup.
Lees is putting the poor performance down to the horse being ridden too quietly and says the Sydney Cup hopeful will take up a handier position from the inside alley in the Chairman’s Quality (2600m) on Saturday.
“I think riding him conservatively might have backfired on us but we will put him into the race and he’ll get his chance that way,” Lees said.
“He has come through it really well and he’ll like the soft track.”
Never Talk returns from a freshen up to tackle the P J Bell Stakes (1200m) as she looks to continue a breakout campaign which has yielded a Group 2 placing in the Light Fingers Stakes and last-start fourth in the Group 1 Surround Stakes.
“She reacts well fresh as a rule and she likes soft ground,” Lees said.
“She has been up a long while but if she handles it, she will be right in the race.”
In a competitive renewal of the P J Bell, Never Talk heads TAB fixed odds betting at +280 while Collide is an +1000 chance for the Chairman’s Quality.