A number of the leading 2011 Australian Cup hopefuls have been accepted into the final field for this Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 St George Stakes (1800m), one of the seven Group races running at Caulfield for Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
The $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) will run at Flemington’s Super Saturday of Racing on March 12.
Early favourites in the Australian Cup odds at Luxbet include Heart Of Dreams ($6.50), Shocking ($7), Linton ($9), Moudre ($9) and Precedence ($13), all running in the 14-horse 2011 St George Stakes field on Saturday.
The Mick Price-trained Heart Of Dreams, however, has suffered a blow drawing the far outside barrier 14 in the St George Stakes.
The Show A Heart five-year-old was a fast finishing second behind Typhoon Tracy in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 12 for the second year in a row last start.
Twelve months ago Heart Of Dreams also finished second in the 2010 St George Stakes after the CF Orr and so has the record to suggest he will be competitive again this year.
Local Caulfield trainer Price will also be represented in the St George Stakes field by consistent four-year-old Spacecraft, jumping from barrier seven with Glen Boss in the mount.
Winner of the 2009 Melbourne Cup, the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking has come up with barrier nine for the St George Stakes, due to be ridden by Corey Brown.
Shocking finished sixth in last year’s St George Stakes and will likely finish around the same on Saturday, the genuine stayer needing a little more distance to perform at their best.
The Lloyd Williams-owned Linton has drawn ideally with barrier four, Michael Rodd booked for the ride aboard the improving Galileo four-year-old.
Linton was a distant ninth in the CF Orr last start but should have improved after the first-up run and with the extra distance of the St George making them a great Place Bet through Luxbet.
One time favourite for the 2010 Caulfield Cup, Warrnambool galloper Moudre is also backing up from a run in the CF Orr Stakes where the Blevic five-year-old finished second last.
A genuine stayer, Moudre has run over 1800m just once in their 18 start career when winning the Henry Bolte Handicap at Flemington in May of last year.
Precedence has come up trumps in the St George Stakes barrier draw, Bart Cummings’ Zabeel five-year-old due to jump from the inside alley looking to return to form after running 14th in the CF Orr.
Cummings will also has Shamardal mare Faint Perfume engaged for the St George on Saturday, the only female in the field starting from barrier eight as she runs second-up following her 13th place finish in the CF Orr.
The 2011 Carlton Draught St George Stakes is scheduled to run as Caulfield Race 8 on Saturday, one event after the marquee race, the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
Luxbet will release their St George Stakes betting odds shortly so make sure you have an account open with Australia’s leading bookmaker to back your favourites at the best prices.
2011 Carlton Draught St George Stakes Field, Barriers & Weights
|#||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight (kg)||Hcp. Rating|
|1||SHOCKING||Mark Kavanagh||Corey Brown||9||59||118|
|2||HEART OF DREAMS||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||14||59||113|
|3||GINGA DUDE (NZ)||Graeme Boyd||Michael Walker||3||59||109|
|4||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart Cummings||Steven Arnold||1||59||108|
|5||TRUSTING||John P Thompson||James Winks||13||59||107|
|6||WIND SHEAR||Dale Sutton||Stephen Baster||12||59||94|
|7||SPEED GIFTED (GB)||Lee Freedman||–||11||59||106|
|8||MOUDRE||Ciaron Maher||Craig Williams||6||59||106|
|9||LINTON||Robert Hickmott||Michael Rodd||4||59||105|
|10||SPACECRAFT||Mick Price||Glen Boss||7||59||104|
|11||HANKS||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2||59||93|
|12||LORD PYRUS (NZ)||Judy Mawer||Jim Cassidy||5||59||100|
|13||REBEL SOLDIER (IRE)||David Hayes||Brad Rawiller||10||58.5||102|
|14||FAINT PERFUME||Bart Cummings||Ben Melham||8||57||107|
Photo courtesy (c) Taron Clarke Photography