Newcastle trainer has spring in his step

Perast will run at Caulfield while trainer Paul Perry will also keep an eye on Varsity at Randwick.

Paul Perry is rarely without an early-running two-year-old, or a couple of handy horses to fly the flag during the Melbourne spring carnival.

And this year is no different.

The Newcastle trainer will saddle up debutant Varsity in the Kirkham Plate at Randwick on Saturday while Perast will contest the Group Three Moonga Stakes at Caulfield.

A $170,000 Magic Millions yearling, Varsity is regarded as one of the outsiders in the eight-horse field but has shown Perry enough in two barrier trials to warrant a trip to Sydney.

“In his first trial he had one or two horses come over (near him) and he sort of baulked at them and dropped right out, but he ran home terrific,” Perry said.

“At Gosford we rode him in behind a couple and he trialled nicely there and he’s gone on since.

“He’s a nice enough horse and he’ll improve with racing.”

Breeders’ Plate runner-up Covert Ops heads betting for the two-year-old race at $2.70 ahead of Evening Slippers at $3.90 and Time To Reign ($4.20), a half brother to 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.

The winner of last year’s Caulfield Guineas Prelude, Perast will have his second run this campaign after showing promise during the Brisbane winter carnival with a pair of wins in three-year-old grade and a fifth to Santa Ana Lane in the Stradbroke Handicap.

Perry was satisfied with his first-up effort when he finished midfield in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington won by I Am Excited and said the horse usually improved deeper into his campaign.

“He generally takes a couple of runs, he’s a gross type but he’s done a fair bit coming into this race, plus couple of trials before his last run,” Perry said.

“He got a bit lost down the straight. I think he’ll run a much better race this week and the 1400 metres suits.”