Paul Perry has an enviable record in Melbourne, particularly when it comes to the major sprints.
A regular visitor to the southern capital at carnival time, the Novacastrian trainer has plundered feature races with the likes of Royal Ascot winner Choisir, Fastnet Rock, Dantelah and Notoire.
On Saturday he will attempt to add another Group One sprint to his CV when he starts Hidden Warrior in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Beaten a head by dominant juvenile Pierro on debut in the Breeders Plate last year, Hidden Warrior missed the autumn and the flagship two-year-old races.
He resumed with a maiden victory at his home track of Newcastle in September before finishing runner-up in a midweek race at Canterbury.
Perry has a knack for identifying the right sort of horse for Melbourne and decided Hidden Warrior fitted the bill.
His judgment was vindicated when Hidden Warrior posted a Group Three win at Moonee Valley last weekend.
“I always had, in the back of my mind, that if he raced all right last Saturday, the straight might even suit him a bit better,” Perry said.
“We thought we’d give him a chance at a Group One.”
Hidden Warrior is one of the outsiders for the three-year-old feature at $26 with filly Nechita firming into outright $3.60 favourite to shade early fancy Snitzerland ($3.70).
Brilliant Queenslander Sizzling is also well in commission at $4.80.
“It’s a pretty strong lot but a few horses don’t handle the straight and there’s been a bit of bad weather there as well,” Perry said.
“We’re hopeful more than anything.”
Nick Hall will partner Hidden Warrior for the first time with the pair to jump from barrier eight in the 11-horse field.
Snitzerland is drawn beside Hidden Warrior with trainer Gerald Ryan bullish about her chances although she has been displaced as favourite by Nechita.
The Nathan Tinkler-owned Nechita has been freshened up since injuring herself in her first Group One test in the Golden Rose in September and sparkled in a Flemington jump-out earlier this week.
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