Watch Fort Knox and Loose Cannon
SATURDAY'S Front Runner Hot Line and Sir Howard Stakes, 1200-metre events for non-winners-of-two, should sharpen late bloomers for a shot at their more-heralded peers in next month's Thornbird and Prince Consort Stakes at 1400 metres.
Anthony Nunes' RUNALLDAY, Gresford Smith's THORNHILL MISS and Philip Feanny's FORT KNOX are standouts among the fillies in the Hot Line whereas LOOSE CANNON is the booming favourite to blow away rivals in the Sir Howard.
Going off their exercise gallops, RUNALLDAY, THORNHILL MISS and FORT KNOX look set to duke it up front. All winners last time out, they were either on the lead or disputing from the start of their respective races.
RUNALLDAY and THORNHILL MISS clocked respectable times for impressive victories, 1:20.1 and 1:14.1, respectively, suggesting they had improved immensely on their debut outings.
However, FORT KNOX, the least experienced of the trio, debuted the tough way in October, beating a colt, AKASH, hand-ridden and needing only two cracks of the whip a furlong out before lengthening her strides to post 1:07.1 at 1100 metres.
AKASH returned to beat colts in November and ran prominently in December's Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, proving competitive up to the half-mile where he was sixth, four-and-a-half lengths behind the leaders.
Earlier this month, he was not the best away on his three-year-old debut at 1100 metres but carried ARMAGEDDON into the lane and stayed second in the stretch run, beaten two-and-a-half lengths in a fast 1:06.3.
Considering AKASH's performances since outclassed by FORT KNOX in October, Feanny's runner should turn back her rivals.
With tongue-tie set to be fitted and lasix administered on Saturday, FORT KNOX gets the nod. Though she's coming off a four-month lay-up, she has looked impressive at exercise, galloping alongside the likes of grade one campaigner CAMPESINO and recent winner DANCING QUEEN.
LOOSE CANNON debuted with much fanfare as a 3-5 favourite two weeks ago and simply outclassed 11 rivals by six lengths in 1:00.0 at 100 metres round. His Sunday morning gallop says it all, 1:06.2 for five-and-a-half, the last five in 59.3.