Smart galloper Culprit drops back to maiden company for the first time and on exposed form he will be hard to beat in the ELK Clothing & Accessories Maiden (1000m) at Northam on Thursday.

Culprit ran eighth to Simon Miller’s highly rated filly Grey Cheval last start but his first two runs this preparation were full of merit and indicated he had a fair amount of ability.

The Chris Gangemi-trained three-year-old ran second to The Rising after leading and made Jestpathim work overtime before going down to that gelding by a neck margin.

Culprit, placed three times from five starts, has drawn barrier four and if jockey Shaun McGruddy finds the front as anticipated the Elusive Quality gelding will take some running down.

“He has run into two very good horses,” said McGruddy.

“This is obviously a big drop in class.

“He’s had the three runs under his belt and he should be winning a maiden at Northam.”

Unleashed Brumby for Ben Pearce steps out for his first appearance and has claims on recent trial efforts.

Ascot trainer Justine Erkelens may have unearthed another promising type in My Fascination who has been impressive in her two starts to date.

My Fascination produced a barnstorming finish from the back of the field to score by a head from Ima Cougar at Northam on August 8.

It followed on from her race debut when she again powered home from near last and ran a half-head second to Makin A Raquet.

The Liberte Jewellery Handicap (1400m) will be a month between runs for the Ice Point mare but she only has to reproduce her first two efforts and she will be hard to beat.

It’s A Merc is a speedy conveyance who has been placed at three of his past four outings including last week when third to Tiger Down Under over 1100m.

The Bletchley Park gelding exploded out of the gates to set a hot tempo and was still in the lead with 150m remaining before fading late.

The noted frontrunner, drawn ideally in gate two for apprentice Mitchell Pateman, will again be in front for a large section of the race and the 1000m of the Scanpan Handicap holds appeal.

Beware Bawcatme, drawn three for in-form apprentice Natasha Faithfull, who has the capacity to run on strongly off a hot speed.

Copper Rocket’s final run last campaign when a fast-finishing fifth to Karrakatta Plate-Sires Produce Stakes runner up Keeper Quiet was a pearler.

The Husson Lightning gelding, who will contest the Louenhide Handbags Maiden (1600m), hasn’t reached the same mark in two return runs but has met bad luck in both races.

The three-year-old commenced awkwardly when third to Who’s To Blame and ran fourth to Youbetya after an interrupted run in the home straight.

Who’s To Blame has franked the form with good efforts in town recently and is being touted as a WA Oaks contender.

Respect also to Star Villain and Valdivia who fought out a titanic battle when they last met at Northam on August 16.

They finished second and third respectively to Sax On The Beach with less than a length separating the first six runners across the track.

Sordello has gone close in two starts back and the form line around both runs will give backers confidence ahead of the Everlastings Gifts & Homewares Maiden (1300m).

Sordello ran fourth to Scamandrius at Pinjarra, beaten 1 ΒΌ lengths, before a narrow second to I See Luck after he made a desperate lunge on the line.

Both winners have performed well since with I See Luck scoring a solid victory at Kalgoorlie last Sunday as the odds on favourite.

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