In arguably the best McNeil Memorial field assembled, there are plenty of square-gaiters that are putting their hoof forward with a genuine claim for victory
SOUTHERN ALPS (2) stepped cleanly in the first round heats and once in control was never in danger in scoring a 5m victory. In the 2nd round he was again safely into stride and was grabbed in the stretch by the flying SPIRIT WALKER. The tempo should be stronger and out to the 2647m should work to his advantage.
NEEDLE (3) could not be any more impressive since arriving from NZ and remains undefeated from 3 outings heading into the final. In both heats she has been well into stride and sent forward to find the front each time. She looks a talented mare and will be throwing down the challenge.
NORTHERN MUSCLE (11) has claimed the bronze in both heats, the 1st when sitting outside SOUTHERN ALPS and the 2nd outside NEEDLE. The longer trip for the 1st time is a query. He will need some factors to go his way.
SPIRIT WALKER (6) came with a well-timed run to grab SOUTHERN ALPS near the post and claim victory in the 2nd heat. An eye-catcher at Redcliffe 3 starts back, she is the off-pace swooper.
SELECTIONS: SOUTHERN ALPS (2), NEEDLE (3), NORTHERN MUSCLE (11), SPIRIT WALKER (6)