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Messara’s Thinking Clear for exciting duo

Clear Thinking can put herself in the frame for the Kosciuszko if she extends her winning streak at Randwick.

PAUL MESSARA.
PAUL MESSARA. Picture: Getty Images

Results this weekend will be pivotal for trainers Paul Messara and Leah Gavranrich as two of their most promising horses face important tests in different states.

Unbeaten mare Clear Thinking can stake her claims for a Kosciuszko slot when she rises to Highway Handicap (1200m) company at Randwick, while Know Thyself steps out in stakes grade for the first time in the Winx Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast.

It's an exciting time for Messara, who combines training a boutique team with his duties as general manager of Arrowfield Stud, and he is looking forward to seeing how the pair measure up.

"It's easy to get up in the mornings when you've got a couple of good ones," Messara said.

"They're both nice horses with a fair bit of upside. We don't know where the ceiling is with them at this stage because Know Thyself really should be unbeaten and the other filly is unbeaten.

"Until they get beaten, you never know how far they're going to go so it's exciting times."

Bred by the late Queen, Clear Thinking was purchased as a broodmare prospect but following surgery to correct a stifle cyst, her Australian connections decided to put her into work.

Her laidback attitude made her difficult to get a read on and it wasn't until she went to Scone last month and won her debut by more than eight lengths, then backed it up with another strong victory at the same venue, that her talent became evident.

"She's a funny horse, she gets around very relaxed, verging on lazy," Messara said.

"There's nothing flashy but when you take her to the racetrack, she couldn't be more impressive in her two starts to date."

Clear Thinking will have the bar raised when she comes to town for Saturday's Highway Handicap and if she can handle that transition, Messara is hopeful it will put her on the radar for a berth in the Kosciuszko this spring.

"That's the obvious progression. If she wins again on Saturday, she puts herself in the frame for possibly getting one of those slots in a Kosciuszko," Messara said.

"People are always looking for those up-and-coming horses for a Kosciuszko and at the moment she looks fairly untapped."

Know Thyself was an emphatic last-start Highway Handicap winner on a heavy track and Messara is hoping he can continue on that trajectory in Queensland.

The trainer almost pulled off a similar feat two years ago with Shalstar, who won a Highway race in September 2022 then finished the closest of seconds in the Alinghi Stakes at her next start and Messara feels Know Thyself has all the hallmarks of being an stakes-class horse.

"He couldn't have won the Highway more impressively than he did and on a wet track," Messara said.

"I think you've just got to give these horses their chance.

"It's difficult to go from a Highway to a stakes race….I've done it once before and went close to success, so hopefully I can go one better this time.

"I'm certain that, if not this preparation, he will get up to stakes grade next."

Rachel King replaces heavyweight jockey Aaron Bullock on Know Thyself, Bullock pulling out of the ride on Monday after contracting the flu, making him unable to waste to make the horse's weight.