One of the four Group 1 features running at Royal Randwick this Saturday for Epsom Handicap Day is the Spring Champion Stakes 2011, and in the latest field update on the three-year-old set weights showdown is that the John O’Shea-trained Big Time and Gai Waterhouse’s Just The Tonic have both been ruled out of the race.
There are officially 82 horses still making up the nominations for this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
The capacity 16-starter plus 4-emergency 2011 Spring Champion Stakes final field of acceptances will be released tomorrow, but already the horses that will line-up in the showdown is starting to become known.
This morning local Randwick-based trainer John O’Shea confirmed his very promising stayer-in-the-making Big Time would not feature in the race and a trip to Melbourne had also been ruled out with the horse to be sent to the paddock for a spell.
A son of Danewin, Big Time was a very dominant winner at their last two starts including an impressive three and a half length victory in the Listed Dulcify Handicap (1900m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Another up-and-coming three-year-old that would be withdrawn from the Spring Champion Stakes entries and Luxbet markets is Redoute’s Choice gelding Just The Tonic.
The two-time Sydney winner was last seen running a gallant fourth behind Darci Be Good in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on September 14 but won’t be given their chance to win at elite level on Saturday.
In related Spring Champion Stakes 2011 news, Nash Rawiller has been confirmed to ride Spring Stakes winner Darci Be Good on the weekend.
Rawiller was aboard the Bede Murray-trained colt for their narrow first-up victory over Strike The Stars at Rosehill in August, but Darci Be Good has been more recently ridden by Hugh Bowman and Glen Boss.
Darci Be Good is also one of the early Spring Champion Stakes betting favourites at Luxbet sitting at a quote of around $5 in the futures markets.
Odds on the race are lead by Strike The Stars with other top fancies including Spring Stakes runner-up Rekindled Alliance and third placegetter Ambidexter; and Guy Walter’s exciting Domesday gelding Doctor Doom, the last of which has been confirmed as a definite acceptor.
The Anthony Cummings-trained favourite, Savabeel three-year-old Strike The Stars, looks on track after working well on the dirt at Randwick this morning.
The galloper recently ran a brave third beaten only one and a half lengths in open-age company by Trusting in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm before breaking their maiden status last-start when defeating Doctor Doom by nearly a length in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 17.
“He has improved since the Gloaming and is just where you want him going into the race,” Cummings said of Strike The Stars.
“All the others are coming out of the Newcastle (Spring Stakes) but I’m very happy with him and he only has a short trip over to the races on Saturday.”
Meanwhile Scone-based trainer Paul Messara is tipping the Spring Champion Stakes, in which he will be represented by the progressive Rekindled Alliance, as possibly a more exciting race on paper than even the Epsom Handicap or The Metropolitan.
“This is a race where normally there are one or two chances, this year there are four or five, which are looking for the trip (2000 metres) and are in great form,” he said.
“On paper, it rivals the Epsom and Metrop as the race of the day.”
The 2011 Spring Champion Stakes final field, as well as those for all of the feature Randwick races this Saturday, will be published right here at Races.com.au as soon as released so bookmark us now.