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Griffon shaded Excellantes in trackwork this week but trainer Robert Heathcote was finding it tough to split the stablemates ahead of their clash in the Group Three W J Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm.

“I certainly hope they both fight out the finish,” Heathcote said.

“I’d have to toss a coin. That’s not being diplomatic, either of them could win and I wouldn’t be surprised. But it’s a good quality race.”

Griffon resumed with an impressive 1-1/2-length win in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.

Excellantes was fifth in the same race but has had a successful winter campaign with two wins including the Listed Chief De Beers (1110m).

The two sprinters worked together on Tuesday morning in their final serious hitout ahead of Saturday’s 1200m contest.

Heathcote said Griffon had come through his first-up win in great order.

“I’m really happy with him and his work on Tuesday on the course proper with Excellantes was as good as I could have hoped for,” Heathcote said.

“I thought Griffon probably shaded Excellantes. He did have the sit on Excellantes and really powered to the line.”

Griffon has barrier 10 of 12 for the feature sprint while Excellantes has barrier eight.

Heathcote said Griffon would have to be ridden a little bit colder from that draw.

“There looks to be good speed in the race so maybe that will suit him,” Heathcote said.

Excellantes won a class six over 1200m three starts back before dropping slightly in distance to win the Chief De Beers.

He was back in trip again when fourth to Griffon last time out.

“He’s had a great carnival with a couple of wins and I was still delighted with his last start fifth in the Lightning,” Heathcote said of Excellantes.

“It wasn’t ideal for him coming back from 1200 to 1110 and then to 1000 metres last start. He did a good job after sitting three and four wide to still be right there at the finish.”

The Chris Waller-trained Tromso is the $3.80 TAB Sportsbet favourite ahead of Excellantes at $4.50 with Griffon $5.50.

 
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