Popular South Australian raider Alcopop is preparing to take on a crack field in the $300,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday, trainer Jake Stephens confident in his galloper’s ability to give raging favourite Whobegotyou a run for their money.
Mark Kavanagh’s weight-for-age warhorse Whobegotyou is set to jump the clear Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes betting favourite through Luxbet.
The Street Cry six-year-old is looking to join Shorengo (1968-70) as the only three-time consecutive Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner in history, Whobegotyou having reigned supreme in the past two editions of the Dato.
Stephens, however, has warned that the race isn’t Whobegotyou’s for the taking with his Jeuen seven-year-old Alcopop back to their best and ready for the challenge.
Two years ago Alcopop was one of the headline horses of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the able stayer travelling to Victoria to win the JRA Cup and Herbert Power Stakes back-to-back.
Their sensational form saw them start favourite in the 2009 Melbourne Cup, but come the first Tuesday of November Alcopop could only manage to finish four and a half lengths away sixth to the winner Shocking, a horse they had previously defeated by over three lengths in the Herbert Power.
After their Melbourne Cup defeat, Alcopop failed to return to their same promising form, with the only notable run over the subsequent year being their second to superstar So You Think in the 2010 Yalumba Caulfield Stakes last spring.
That form is crucial to consider going into the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes on Saturday, however, as Alcopop was able to get home one and a quarter lengths ahead of the third-placed Whobegotyou.
[lbtext=Alcopop is a genuine chance to upset ‘Whobe’ at Moonee Valley this Saturday so check the odds at Luxbet for value!]
Alcopop bounced back last-start to win the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville on August 20, improving on their fifth place finish in the race last year.
“He came through the Penny Edition really well and it was a good win against the bias because it was on the inside track and that suits those up on the pace,” Stephens said.
With Stephens again eyeing the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) as the grand final aim for Alcopop this spring, the Strathalbyn-based horseman is keen to see how Alcopop performs in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes on Saturday against Moonee Valley specialist Whobegotyou.
“Last year we had to run first-up in the Penny Edition and then run him second-up over 1600 (metres) and it took a bit out of him, so we arrived in Melbourne a little underdone,” Stephens explained.
While Alcopop has genuine claims this weekend being a three from four winner over the mile and also having saluted in one of his two starts at the Valley, Stephens knows that there is plenty of talent among the Dato nominations.
“The weight-for-age horses seem a bit thin on the ground this year but certainly Whobegotyou and King’s Rose will be hard to beat there on Saturday,” he said.
Whobegotyou is a definite starter, however last start Memsie Stakes winner King’s Rose is unlikely to accept for the Dato with her trainer Peter Moody naming the $200,000 Group 2 WH Stocks Stakes (1600m) at the same meeting as a more viable option for the former Kiwi mare.
Along with the 2011 Melbourne Cup, for which Alcopop is rated a $51 chance at Luxbet, Stephens has also nominated them for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 and the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley the following fortnight.
Current Caulfield Cup 2011 odds at Luxbet have Alcopop at $26 while for the 2011 Cox Plate they are paying $41 in markets lead by Whobegotyou at $7.50.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the 2011 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes final field released later this week, and in the meantime get in on the futures Group One betting action at Luxbet.