Wednesday, 17 August 2011
: The VRC Sires' Produce winner, a half-brother to a couple of former stars and a host of other Caulfield Guineas hopefuls will assemble at Moonee Valley for Saturday's $100,000 McKenzie Stakes.
| Running Tall|
Photo by Racing and Sports
The Danny O'Brien-trained Running Tall
headlines the field for the 1200-metre event which is the feature of Moonee Valley's first meeting of the new season.
The son of Stratum was one of Victoria's top juveniles of last season and while he finished down the track in both the Golden Slipper and Champagne Stakes at his past two outings, his most recent Victorian effort resulted in a dominant win in the G2 VRC Sires Produce (1400m) at Flemington.Running Tall
shares the 57.5kg top weight for Saturday's race with Wendy Kelly's Maribyrnong Plate winner Arctic Command
The only other runner above the 55kg limit in the race that has attracted a capacity field of 12 plus three emergencies is the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Hot Spin
, who has won back-to-back Caulfield races at his past two.
Some intriguing runners are among those on the 55kg limit, none more so than the David Hayes-trained Niconoise
, a half-brother to five-time Group 1 winner Niconero and former Lightning Stakes winner Nicconi.
The son of supersire Redoute's Choice and Nicola Lass has been to the races just once, for an effortless 3-1/4-length win at Morphettville.
Niconoise is one of two Hayes-trained runners engaged with Dontmentionthewar
, a debut winner at Echuca, the second emergency.
O'Brien also has The New Boy
, a winner of two of his three starts and an unlucky second at the other run, while Peter Moody, who won last year's McKenzie Stakes with Anacheeva, will chase back-to-back wins with Huegill
The Mike Moroney-trained Sabrage
, an impressive Caulfield winner at his only start, and the Mick Price-trained Secret Hills
, winner of his past two, are among the other promising types engaged.
The three-year-old fillies get their chance to impress in the $100,000 Crockett Stakes (1200m) and Moody has the likely favourite there in the form of Blue Diamond runner-up Hollowell Belle.
The daughter of Starcraft is coming off a modest maiden win, but impressed with three minor placings in her juvenile season and is one of the host state's leading hopes for the $500,000 Thousand Guineas on 12 October.
Hallowell Belle has a handy set of fillies to contend with in the Crockett, including John Keys' Group 3 winner Triple Asset
and Manhattan Maid
and Secret Status
, both Listed winners in Adelaide.
Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra have city winner Jessica Rose
engaged and the Greg Eurell-prepared Sweet Ella
resumes after winning her only two starts of her initial preparation.
An appearance by Lone Rock
, winner of the Group 1 Goodwood at her most recent appearance, headlines the day's feature sprint – the $100,000 Printhouse Graphics Stakes (1000m).
The Robert Smerdon
-trained four-year-old returns to the scene of her Group 3 Champagne Stakes (1200m) win during spring, where she will do battle with Mark Kavanagh-trained speed machine Definitely Ready
, consistent mare Warm Love
and rising star Kulgrinda
The Chandler McLeod Handicap (1500m) might not carry Black Type status, but it could have significant spring ramifications with December Draw
set to resume.
The Kavanagh-trained import recorded two dominant Flemington wins at his only two Australian starts to date and is high up in betting for both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.
Another import being directed towards the Cups, the David Hayes-trained Laristan
, will resume along with one of Robert Hickmott's top Cups hopes, progressive Zabeel gelding Base