Stratum filly Crystal Lily scored victory in last year’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper, the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, and has been nominated for the $100,000 Listed JRA Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield first-up for the season.
Crystal Lily’s last start was in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) on August 28 where she finished a disappointing 11th, connections hoping she can return to form this season starting with a win in JRA Stakes where she will be ridden by Damien Oliver.
Peter Moody’s Exceed And Excel four-year-old Reward For Effort is also expected to kick start their autumn campaign in the JRA Stakes this weekend.
Reward For Effort won the Blue Diamond Stakes two years ago and although showed potential during the spring, failed to win the Group 1 Manikato Stakes last start on September 24 when finishing seventh behind boom sprinter Hay List.
After a promising half-length barrier trial victory at Cranbourne on January 24, Reward For Effort is tipped to improve this autumn and will be one of the top fancies in the JRA Stakes.
Other notable horses among the JRA Stakes nominees include Cardinal Virtue and Solar Charged.
Caulfield Racecourse will be host to three stakes races on Saturday with other highlights including the $100,000 Listed Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) for two-year-olds where 31 youngsters have been nominated and the $100,000 Listed Wellington R.C. Stakes (1200m) for three-year-olds.
The Chairman’s Stakes is sure to attract plenty of attention with a number of 2011 Blue Diamond Stakes hopefuls set to race in the sprint including Snitzel filly Hollyweird, Danny O’Brien’s unraced Starcraft colt Cape Canaveral, the Peter Moody-trained Metonymy and John Thompson’s Helping Hand.
The 2011 Blue Diamond Stakes odds are currently lead by Blue Diamond Preview winner Sepoy sitting around $4.50 through Luxbet, but a win by one of the early entries for the $1 million feature in the Chairman’s Stakes on Saturday could see a big change in the markets.Meanwhile, in the Wellington R.C. Stakes last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Star Witness will also resume.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Star Witness became a dual Group 1 winner during the spring with an excellent two length victory in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day and then finished off their spring with a second place finish behind glamour mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on November 6.
O’Brien has scheduled the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas over the mile at Flemington on March 5 as the main aim for Star Witness this season before hopefully heading to Royal Ascot in Britain later in the year.
The other top-line nominee for Saturday’s Wellington R.C. Stakes is the Mark Kavanagh-trained Linked In.
The three-year-old colt producing an eye-catching third behind Eclair Mystic in the Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield on Australia Day, beaten by less than half a length at just their second career start.
The final fields, barrier draws and form guides for the Listed Caulfield races this Saturday will be published here at Races.com.au later in the week so bookmark us now.
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Photos courtesy (c) Taron Clarke Photography