The Chris Waller-trained Lean Mean Machine ($3.50) has shown plenty of ability through his short career and will be tough to beat in this afternoon. The Zoustar colt debuted for a smart win at Warwick Farm before making a competitive transition to black type company when third in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) on Day 1 of The Championships. This is a step back in class from that race and he has trialled well in the lead-up.
Nature Strip was completely luckless in the Vobis Gold Dash first-up but still savaged the line for a close second and will be far better second-up in the Euclase Stakes. The Nicconi gelding has experienced a meteoric rise to prominence and will take his place in this field with an impressive record of four wins and two second placings from his six career starts. He is drawn ideally and with Craig Williams in the saddle, he should just win the Group 2.
If she finds anything of the form that she boasted in spring, Champagne Cuddles is the horse to beat in the Gold Coast Guineas this afternoon. The daughter of Not A Single Doubt ran second in four-consecutive black type races at the end of her 2017 preparation, including both the Group 1 Golden Rose and Group 1 Flight Stakes. This is a big step back in class and she has trialled exceptionally well in the lead-up. Corey Brown can dictate terms from the rails and the horse will be hard to hold out.
Best Each-Way Bet
Bring Me Roses ($14) flew home to finish fourth in the Group 1 Australian Oaks last time out and is over the odds at her current price. The daughter of High Chaparral is several times placed at Group 1 level and finished third at long odds behind Grunt in the Group 1 Australian Guineas most notably this time in. This is a step back in class to what she has been running around in this season and she looks like great value at double-figure odds.