A field of 14 fillies and mares have been accepted for this Saturday’s $175,000 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m), one of the nine Group races scheduled for the 2011 AJC Australian Derby Day at Royal Randwick.
The two early favourites among the Sapphire Stakes field this year have suffered an early blow with Graceful Anna and Zingaling drawing wide with gates 10 and 12 respectively.
David Pfieffer’s Canny Lad four-year-old Graceful Anna enjoyed early success this season running second in three Group races before her last start failure in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 19.
In February Graceful Anna ran second to More Joyous in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m) and was runner-up behind Montana Flyer in the Group 3 Millie Fox Quality (1300m) at her next start.
She also finished a length away second behind Triple Elegance in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm on March 5 before beating home just one other runner in the 14-horse Coolmore Classic field.
Stepping back from 1500m to 1200m on Saturday and also the drop back in class from a Group 1 to Group 2 event should see Graceful Anna return to form and punters will likely forgive the mare for her run in the Coolmore.
Meanwhile the Kris Lees-trained Redoute’s Choice mare Zingaling enjoyed an impressive first-up win in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 26.
This was Zingaling’s first Group assignment and after she handled that with ease she has been given another in the Sapphire Stakes.
The females that finished two-three behind Zingaling in the Birthday Card Stakes, Ladys Angel and Flying Success, are also backing up in the Sapphire Stakes on Saturday.
Prepared by Joseph Pride, Arena four-year-old Ladys Angel is a progressive mare that was beaten by just a long-neck in the Birthday Card Stakes.
Ladys Angel has drawn well for Saturday with barrier four and will be ridden by Tim Clark.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Flying Success will start out a little further from gate eight with star hoop Glen Boss in the mount.
Other major players in the 2011 Sapphire Stakes include Wenona Girl Handicap winner Ofcourseican (barrier six) and the Anthony Cummings-trained Turnstiles drawn on the rails with barrier one.
The most notable defector from the 2011 Sapphire Stakes field following nominations is Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily.
Connections have opted to run Crystal Lily in the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Saturday instead where she will again face off against the world’s fastest horse, Black Caviar.
The 2011 Yellowglen Sapphire Stakes is scheduled to jump at 4:20pm (AEST) as Randwick Race 8 on Saturday.
2011 Sapphire Stakes Final Field, Barriers & Weights
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1340X92220||GRACEFUL ANNA||David Pfieffer||Hugh Bowman||10||56.5kg||104|
|2||2310X833X1||ZINGALING||Kris Lees||Jim Cassidy||12||56.5kg||98|
|3||21X7137X40||MARQUARDT (NZ)||John P Thompson||Jim Byrne||9||56.5kg||96|
|6||02367X8338||DORF COMMAND||Clarry Conners||Dwayne Dunn||7||56kg||95|
|8||12610X2115||OFCOURSEICAN||Ron Quinton||Christian Reith||6||56kg||90|
|9||32X331X572||PURRPURRLENA||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||2||55kg||96|
|10||12X7113X42||LADYS ANGEL||Joseph Pride||Tim Clark||4||55kg||88|
|11||243X425X97||HURTLE MYRTLE||Matthew Smith||–||14||54kg||93|
|12||26X3126423||FLYING SUCCESS||Gai Waterhouse||Glen Boss||8||54kg||89|
|13||0X751330X4||KIMILLSY||Kim Waugh||Corey Brown||11||54kg||86|
|14||49134X1120||TURNSTILES (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Craig Williams||1||54kg||86|