A weight turnaround on Winter Stakes winner Rugged Cross can help Wouldnt It Be Nice reverse his fortunes in Sydney’s first feature of the new season at Rosehill.
Wouldnt It Be Nice loomed up to Two Blue in the Winter Stakes two weeks ago and looked as if he was going to win but Rugged Cross burst through late to claim the pair.
The Chris Waller-trained Rugged Cross goes up two kilograms to 58kg for Saturday’s Winter Challenge while Wouldnt It Be Nice goes from 56.5kg to 57kg.
Trainer Paul Perry believes Wouldnt It Be Nice can improve on his last-start third and is comfortable with stepping him up from 1400 to 1500 metres.
The winner of almost half a million dollars, Wouldnt It Be Nice won the June Stakes but was unplaced in two other races before the Winter Stakes.
He will once again be ridden by Thomas Huet.
“He probably got there a bit too soon last time,” Perry said.
“In saying that, Thomas rode him beautfully and there were no excuses. The step up to 1500 metres is new for him so we will see what he can do and where we go from here.”
Rugged Cross is one of three runners from the Waller stable in the Winter Challenge with Sydney’s premier trainer aiming for a third consecutive win in the Listed race.
In a cramped market, You’ll Never is the TAB’s $4.20 favourite ahead of Rugged Cross at $4.60 with Eigelstein at $5.
Noela’s Choice and Great Esteem are both at $6 with Wouldnt It Be Nice at $7.
Perry also has Group One placegetter Scratch Me Lucky and imported stayer Ghost Protocol heading to Rosehill.
Although Scratch Me Lucky hasn’t lived up to his second to Peggy Jean in the 2014 Sires’ Produce Stakes, his trainer is encouraged by his last-start fourth to Forget at Rosehill where he missed the start by around four lengths.
“He was a bit slow out last time and the way he finished the race off he has to have a chance,” Perry said.
“Ghost Protocol has been a bit unlucky a few times but he usually runs well.”
Both will be ridden by Perry’s apprentice Serg Lysnyy.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au