COUNTESS NATALIE - I tipped Countess Natalie last start and she ran a solid race over 1600m at long odds at the Sunshine Coast. Rochelle Smith has swapped Sally Sweeney for Jeff Lloyd and whilst that means an extra 2.5kg in weight the stronger rider over 1690m may make the difference. Countess Natalie’s two placings have been on rain-affected ground and with some weather around a soft track may play into her hands. Countess Natalie is at big odds again and with a good run in transit gets a chance to break through.
DANSEZ - Trained by Kelly Schweida, Dansez has now had two runs back from a spell and steps up to a more suitable 1350m. The trainer has put Jeff Lloyd on board and from gate one Dansez should get a good run handy to the speed. Last preparation the Myboycharlie filly won three times at the Gold Coast up to 1400m from seven starts and whilst she failed at Ipswich had excuses due to the hot conditions that day. Dansez should now be reaching peak fitness and with the state’s leading rider aboard should prove hard to beat.
DIVINE UNICORN - A lightly-raced four-year-old from the Matt Dunn stable, Divine Unicorn has always shown promise but was given time to mature and after plenty of trials, finally made his race debut a year ago winning a maiden at Ipswich. After rumours about him going to Hong Kong failed to eventuate he had another light preparation in November winning second-up at Gold Coast before taking on a Rosehill Highway class three at which he ran fourth when favourite. Divine Unicorn resumed this time at Gold Coast in a class six over 1400m and showed plenty of tenacity for Jeff Lloyd over the final stages to hold off Oink who looked to have his measure 100m out. He will be improved by that run and being by Lope De Vega out of a Barathea mare whose only win was at 1688m should have little trouble with the step up in trip. Whilst Lloyd has chosen to ride Savwell, Divine Unicorn will lose nothing with Glyn Schofield. He will be out of trouble from gate five and should be hard to run down.
LET’S PARTY MARTY - Let’s Party Marty has been costly at his past three outings and is developing a reputation as a non-winner but he wasn’t helped last start when victim of a poor ride from a wide gate and going down narrowly to Secret Mo at Sunshine Coast. He meets his conqueror 1.5kg better for a narrow defeat and should appreciate this track and the better gate. The horse has been consistent winning twice and only missing a place once in seven starts. He deserves one more chance, Jeff Lloyd stays on and if Let’s Get Marty jumps cleanly can control proceedings and should be hard to run down over 1350m.
SIZZLING BELLE - Sizzling Belle is proven at Group level during the autumn and had no luck in her first Queensland outing last week. From the wide gate she was forced to go back and whilst Kathy O’Hara saved ground into the straight, Sizzling Belle ran into a wall of horses at the 150m mark and went to the line untested. She should have taken little harm from that, backs up quickly here and gets the benefit of a good gate. Michael Walker takes the reins and can have the Sizzling filly on the speed throughout. If she handles the seven-day backup, Sizzling Belle should be too good.