Trevor Rowe’s Desert Cowboy is an out and out Cairns 950m specialist and he lines up here in a small, but handy Open Quality field. Stephen Wilson knows the horse very well and maps to get an ideal run in the race from barrier 2 behind what will be a naturally hot tempo. He drops a kilo from his last start when fourth which should suit him and the sting out of the track will help.
Paniagua burst onto the North Queensland racing scene when he won six races in a row last campaign, including the Whitsunday and Townsville Guineas, and the Cairns Cup. First-up here over 1400m looks to suit the talented youngster who will be partnered by Bonnie Thompson for the first time. He’s undefeated at this distance, and we think he can keep that in-tact.
Ex-Victorian Helmaz has now had two runs in North Queensland with noted improvement at his latest when beaten in a photo. Third-up here, up in weight and distance, he should be ready to win. Gary Kliese will ride him for the first time here, and there looks enough speed in the race to allow him to find a spot and be strong late. He should get the Queensland maiden out of the way here.