The 2011 Apollo Stakes final field has been announced this morning for the race that will take place this Saturday February 19, 2011.
The field includes some of Australia’s superstar horses, including February 5’s Expressway Stakes winner Centennial Park.
David Payne, who trains Centennial Park, is confident that his five-year-old gelding has overcome his leg problems of the past and is ready to win the 2011 Apollo Stakes.
“He was a bit muscle sore after the win, which was not unusual for him, he’s not the soundest horse in the yard,” Payne said of Centennial Park’s recovery after winning the Group 2 Expressway Stakes.
“I gave him a few easy days afterwards and I’m really happy with him, he’s done very well.”
Centennial Park will be facing much of the same opposition in the 2011 Apollo Stakes as he did in his previous win, including Love Conquers All and Hot Danish.
David Payne feels the step up in distance from 1,200 metres in the Expressway Stakes to 1,400 metres in the 2011 Apollo Stakes will really suit Centennial Park.
“I’m pretty confident he has the measure of the horses he raced against the other day,” Payne said.
“The way he beat them and the slight step up to 1400m is even better for him, he’ll be competitive again.
However the one horse that David Payne is extremely wary of is reigning New South Wales Horse of the Year Melito.
“I think Melito comes into the mix. She’s a nice horse and could be the one to beat,” Payne said.
Melito will be first up from a spell in the 2011 Apollo Stakes and will be looking to improve on what was a disappointing last preparation.
The four-year-old mare finished fifth in both of her races which were won by superstar Black Caviar.
Melito was confirmed as a starter in the 2011 Apollo Stakes after she pleased her trainer Gerald Ryan with a 1.75 length win in her barrier trial over 1,030 metres at Rosehill on February 15, 2011.
“She trialled probably as good as she has ever trialled,” Ryan said.
“She’ll go to the Apollo now.”
Melito has drawn the second widest barrier of nine in the 2011 Apollo Stakes and will be ridden by jockey Brenton Avdulla.
Betting odds for all of the 2011 Apollo Stakes field will be available closer to Saturday’s rcae at Luxbet.
Also in named in the 2011 Apollo Stakes final field is seven-year-old veteran Danleigh who finished fourth in the 2011 Expressway Stakes.
Danleigh has drawn barrier ten, the widest barrier of the field, and will be carrying 59 kilograms.
Also included in the field are Chris Waller’s Metal Bender, Gai Waterhouse’s Lorne Dancer and Once Were Wild, Joseph Pride’s Vision And Power and John Thompson’s Run For Naara.
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2011 Apollo Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|1||DANLEIGH||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||10||59||116|
|2||METAL BENDER (NZ)||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||7||59||116|
|3||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||Corey Brown||6||59||108|
|4||LOVE CONQUERS ALL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jim Cassidy||8||59||107|
|5||VISION AND POWER (NZ)||Joseph Pride||–||4||59||107|
|6||LORNE DANCER||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry (a)||3||59||105|
|7||HOT DANISH||Les Bridge||Tim Clark||5||57||117|
|8||MELITO||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||9||57||114|
|9||ONCE WERE WILD||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||1||57||108|
|10||RUN FOR NAARA||John P Thompson||–||2||57||100|