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Trainer Kris Lees says Special Reward is capable of a rapid form reversal at Eagle Farm.

Out-of-form sprinter Special Reward will be given a final throw at the stumps to earn a Stradbroke Handicap start in the Group 2 Moreton Cup at Eagle Farm.

Last year’s Newcastle Newmarket winner hasn’t fired in two runs this campaign, finishing unplaced in the Hawkesbury Gold Rush and again in the BRC Sprint at Doomben.

He has been caught wide from awkward draws in both races but trainer Kris Lees is leaving nothing to chance, taking blinkers off the five-year-old and adding winkers for the first time.

“I’m hoping putting winkers on him will keep him more focused,” Lees said.

“We’ll be positive on him and he could easily turn his form around if he gets his own way in front.

“But he needs to be ultra-impressive to convince us to back him up in the Stradbroke.”

Hugh Bowman partners Special Reward in the 1200m sprint while Andrew Mallyon will ride stablemate Zaniah.

The mare was an eye-catching last-start fourth to Saturday’s rival Varda in the Chief De Beers and while she is yet to place in five starts at the distance, Lees says she deserves a shot.

“The 1200 metres is a bit of a question but she has a real liking for Eagle Farm,” he said.

Splintex remains a clear-cut $2.60 favourite for the Moreton Cup, ahead of Varda at $4.60.

Zaniah is at $14 with Special Reward a $21 chance.

 
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