Wesley Vale trainer Glenn Stevenson has unbeaten two-year-old Turk Warrior at his peak for his main assignment of the season at Mowbray on Wednesday night.
The Outreach gelding is $1.50 favourite (in from $1.60) with tab.com.au to win the $150,000 Alfa Gold Sovereign Stakes.
Stevenson said Turk Warrior had recovered quickly from his long trip to Hobart 17 days ago when he won the $100,000 Elwick Stakes.
"He felt the trip down south a bit, with the heat and everything, but he was back on his food a day later and soon back to his normal self," the trainer said.
"Since then he's improved a bit fitness-wise so everything is good at the moment.
"There's a first-starter in the field (Miss Tuppence) that has trialled like a good horse, otherwise, he should have them covered if he runs up to his best.
"But I am a bit perplexed as to the speed in the race and how it might be run.
"The tactics will be interesting ... he could end up on the rail leading - that wouldn't surprise me."
Jockey Ismail Toker has positioned Turk Warrior just off the pace at his two previous starts over shorter distances.
In both races, he began quick enough to lead but Toker chose to take hold. He waited till nearing the turn to make his move and Turk Warrior ran to the lead at the top of the straight.
Stevenson said that if Turk Warrior pulled up well after the Gold Sovereign, he could round off his campaign in the $75,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic on February 21.
"If he's bucking his brands off we'll probably go there because he hasn't done much racing," the trainer said.
"We always planned to give him three runs this time in but he missed a race so the Magic Millions would be that third start."
Mystic Journey will have her next start in the group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in 17 days.
Trainer Adam Trinder said the mare had taken no harm from her run at Elwick on Sunday when second to Newhart in the Thomas Lyons.
"She pulled up fine and was bright and bouncy this morning," Trinder told racing.com.
"She ran good times first-up (when second to Blaze Forth at Mowbray on January 20) and we felt she raced a bit flat second-up off the back of those strong sectionals.
"She was beaten fair and square (by Newhart) but the track did play a bit funny and horses were getting beaten by big margins)."
The Blamey Stakes is a fortnight before the $5 million All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley.
Mystic Journey is currently sitting 15th on the All-Star leaderboard and is too far outside the top 10 to earn automatic entry to the race.
However if she won the Blamey she could be given a wildcard entry, as was the case when she won the inaugural All-Star in 2019.
Trinder said any plans beyond the Blamey would depend on the mare's form.
Quick Joey Small rocketed to equal favouritism for the $40,000-to-the-winner Launceston Cup final with a brilliant heat win at Mowbray on Monday night.
The David Crosswell-trained dog went 29.38 leading all the way from box 1 and is handily drawn again next week in box 2.
He shares the top of the tab.com.au market with Victorian visitor Eagles Nest Egg who also led most of the way in his heat to score by four lengths in 29.66.
The market has it as a three-dog race, with Wynburn Sheean from the Ben Englund kennel at Wynyard the other leading contender.
He overcame a tardy start in his heat to find the front by the first turn and went on to beat fellow finalist Fabulous Baqoque by a length in 29.63.
Longford-based Crosswell, who will also have Highland Wonder in the final, has won the Launceston Cup twice but a long time ago.
He scored with Highland Summer in 1980 and True Vintage in 1988) and his late wife Margaret also won with Flash Billy in 1994.
1 Highland Wonder (29.91), 2 Quick Joey Small (29.38), 3 Eagles Nest Egg (29.66), 4 Siberia (29.75), 5 Fabulous Baroque (2nd, 29.71), 6 Wynburn Sheean (29.63), 7 Goodnight Vicki (29.78), 8 Sprint Gordon (2nd, 29.75). Res: Wynburn Lethal, Gypsies Luck.
2.80 Quick Joey Small, Eagles Nest Egg; 3.60 Wynburn Sheean; 10.00 Sprint Gordon; 14.00 Fabulous Baroque; 17.00 Highland Wonder, Siberia; 51.00 Goodnight Vicki.
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