As part of the bumper all black-type line-up at Randwick’s AJC Derby Day this Saturday, a collection of talented fillies and mares will face off in the $175,000 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
The 2011 Sapphire Stakes nominations feature 25 horses vying for a spot in the capacity 18-starter final field.
Top-rated entry for this year’s Sapphire Stakes if former Golden Slipper winning filly Crystal Lily.
Crystal Lily has also been nominated for one of the elite level features on the Derby Day programme, the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), where another clash with unbeaten mare Black Caviar would be on the cards.
Twelve months ago the Peter Snowden-trained Renaissance was the Sapphire Stakes winner.
This year Snowden, winning trainer of the Golden Slipper with star colt Sepoy last weekend, has nominated three from his stables as he seeks back-to-back Sapphire Stakes success with Trim, Dysphonia and Kanzan.
Early favourites among the 2011 Sapphire Stakes nominations include:
- Zingaling (Kris Lees) – Redoute’s Choice four-year-old resumed with a first-up win in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 26
- Avenue (Peter Moody) – 57kg top-weight of the contenders here, the Anabaa mare won the Group 3 RN Irwin Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville before finishing four lengths away sixth to Response in the Group 1 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) last start
- Sister Madly (Anthony Cummings) – Last start winner of the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 12
- Ladys Angel (Joseph Pride) – Consistent Arena four-year-old coming off a close second to Zingaling in the Birthday Card Stakes
Another high-profile Sapphire Stakes nominee is the David Pfieffer-trained Canny Lad mare Graceful Anna.
After three second place finishes at Group level earlier this season, Graceful Anna most recently ran a well-beaten 14th when outclassed in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Pfieffer is hopeful Graceful Anna can bounce back on Saturday, advantaging from the step back in class and distance.
“They (the jockeys) are all ringing me after the ride on her, which means she must be the one to beat,” Pfieffer said.
“I have had to change jockey several times this preparation and finally I have been able to get Hugh Bowman, who is who I wanted on her from the start.
“There have been some disappointed managers when I told them the ride was gone.”
The final field of acceptors for all the feature races on the AJC Derby Day card will be released tomorrow, Wednesday April 5.
View the Sapphire Stakes field, form guide and betting tips by bookmarking us here at Races.com.au.
2011 Sapphire Stakes Nominations
|1||AVENUE||Peter G Moody||3||57kg||109|
|2||GRACEFUL ANNA||David Pfieffer||7||56.5kg||104|
|3||MARQUARDT (NZ)||John P Thompson||10||56.5kg||96|
|4||SISTER MADLY||Anthony Cummings||4||56.5kg||103|
|7||CRYSTAL LILY||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||1||56kg||112|
|8||DORF COMMAND||Clarry Conners||25||56kg||95|
|11||LITTLE SURFER GIRL||Chris Waller||20||56kg||89|
|13||LADYS ANGEL||Joseph Pride||9||55kg||88|
|14||MILITARY ROSE||Gillian Heinrich||2||55kg||93|
|16||PANIPIQUE||Peter G Moody||11||54.5kg||95|
|17||FLYING SUCCESS||Gai Waterhouse||15||54kg||89|
|18||GIRLS GO RACING||Gregory Hickman||22||54kg||82|
|19||HURTLE MYRTLE||Matthew Smith||16||54kg||93|
|21||MYSTERIOUS LIGHT||Gerald Ryan||23||54kg||74|
|24||TURNSTILES (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||17||54kg||86|
|25||STEPS IN TIME||John O’Shea||12||52kg||68|