Victorian based stayer Classic Weiwei looks a good chance to give Craig Newitt his third Launceston Cup win at Mowbray on Wednesday.
Newitt, who won the race on Zacielo in 2004 and Eastender in 2019, will be having his first ride on the Tony McEvoy-trained gelding.
Classic Weiwei finished off strongly when second to Double You Tee in the Hobart Cup 2-1/2 weeks ago and now meets him 4.5kg better.
Double You Tee's jockey Jye McNeil made a decisive move at the 800m of that race when he let the horse roll forward to quickly improve his position.
He went from two lengths behind Classic Weiwei to two lengths in front and it was a margin the runner-up couldn't make up.
It's unlikely Newitt will allow that to happen again.
Third placegetter Barade also left his run too late in the Hobart Cup. He was still last at the 600m and finished up getting beaten only 1-3/4 lengths.
Like Classic Weiwei, he has a significant jockey change with the booking of seven-time group 1 winner Brenton Avdulla.
Outside of the horses that filled the Hobart Cup trifecta, Captain Cook, Toorak Affair, Runaway and Glass Warrior appeal as each way chances while new kid on the block Supalopo is an unknown quantity at this level but must be respected.
Quick guide to the other races:
FOREX showed plenty of pace at Tas. debut and is drawn to lead again. Should be fitter and take catching. LOUISVILLE has had a few chances but from good draw is likely to be in finish again. MERV DECIDES might be under the odds from wide gate but form from his last run has been franked.
ZEVA ROYALE appeals as one of the better each-way bets on the program. Opened $7.50 but that quickly disappeared. Settled last on debut and made up lot of ground to finish third. With the benefit of race experience and addition of winkers she might be able to settle closer here. MRS WHITTEN creates interest at her Tas. debut. Placed 3 of 10 in Victoria and her best form is good enough to win this.
3- CLASS 1
BLUSHED showed promise at first prep. beating the smart Reite Den Blitz in Hobart 2yo. Dropped right out after leading at only start last time in so assume something was amiss. Resumes without trial but can win if right. HOT WIRED was scratched from Sunday to run here. Just failed to land plunge last start. I'M FLOOZY disappointed last time but does boast second to Hela this t/d. Opened $2.70 which isn't much value.
4- BENCHMARK 70
JULIUS looked good winning twice on synthetic over winter. Only run on turf was in much tougher Tasbred 4YO won by Galenus. Looks smart but price ($2.50 into $2.30) is bit skinny. GEE GEE TRUE STORY might be better value at $5.50. Always had rap on him and took good one to beat him first-up. BANDINELLI has missed two scheduled runs since completing hat-trick in mid-December. Opened $4.20 and quickly into $3.10. GEE GEE QUEEN BEE was very good when resuming and completes quartet of winning chances.
5- 3YO CLASSIC
WAR CORRESPONDENT has 4kg more than any other runner but is a quality act. Opened silly odds at $3.20, now $2.15. WARRIOR PRINCE looks better suited coming back to 1200m so expect him to regain his best form. THUNBERG didn't measure up to War Correspondent two starts ago but meets him 5kg better. Was $4.20 into $3.50 early.
6- ROYAL RAMBO
STREET TOUGH has disappointed past two but been freshened and probably should have won Newmarket three starts ago. Been well backed ($3.30 to $3.10) and weighted to win if he brings his A game. BLAZE FORTH will be suited by return to 1200m, the distance of 10 of his 14 wins. Has earned big weight and not entitled to be $9.50. GEE GEE SECONDOVER was the Newmarket winner who excels this track and distance. LIM'S CRUISER was a group 1 sprinter in Singapore in his prime so is well in here on his best form. However hasn't raced for 19 months.
7- MOWBRAY STAKES
NEWHART was totally dominant winning Thomas Lyons after a freshen up and step up to 1600m looks ideal. Only negative is that punters got $10 last time and he's now $2.15. MANDELA EFFECT is coming back to his preferred trip after having crack at Hobart Cup. Beat Hellova Street in this race last year. Looks only danger. SWOOP DOG faces a big task to win over 1600m at WFA coming off a Derby campaign but his class could put him in placings.
9- VAMOS STAKES
Toughest punting test of day, with question marks over key runners. DEROCHE was eased out of race in Hobart last start but wouldn't be here if she wasn't right. Won 8 of 11 this track. ETHICAL SOLUTION was impressive winning Bow Mistress and has been very solid in early betting ($2.80 to $2.70). STILL A STAR is a star but to win this first-up for 12 months would be massive achievement. MYSTICAL PURSUIT is another coming off last-start failure but reared at start and jockey reported she made unusual respiratory noise during race so may pay to forgive.
10- BENCHMARK 66
THE RISK FACTOR looks capable of taking another step up in class. Opened $1.45 before drifting to more realistic $1.95 but is still short enough. ELISAVET ($11) and SO ASTOUNDING ($17 into $11) represent better value on each-way basis but, if you're winning by this stage of the day, may pay to leave early.
OUR CUP TIPS
Greg Mansfield: Classic Weiwei, Barade, Double You Tee, Toorak Affair
Colin McNiff: Barade, Toorak Affair, Classic Weiwei, Double You Tee
Duncan Dornauf: Classic Weiwei, Double You Tee, Barade, Runaway
Nick Whelan: Barade, Supalopo, Captain Cook, Double You Tee
Ron Riley: Classic Weiwei, Barade, Double You Tee, Supalopo