Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller is gearing up for a supercharged Epsom Super Saturday this weekend, much of the attention focused on his 2011 Craven Plate nominee, the Cox Plate-bound import My Kingdom Of Fife.
Waller may have multiple entries in two of the day’s showcase features with Foreteller ($12 Luxbet) his top fancy the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Hawk Island ($10 Luxbet) rated his No. 1 chance in the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), but he will be keeping a very close eye on the run by My Kingdom Of Fife in one of the support races on the Royal Randwick card – the $125,000 Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m).
Twenty-two weight-for-age hopefuls were nominated for the Craven Plate 2011 when initial entries were taken yesterday, My Kingdom Of Fife sitting at the top of the ballot.
Kingmambo six-year-old My Kingdom Of Fife, a winner of three of their four maiden runs in Australia last season including the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over the Craven Plate track and distance, resumed with an eye-catching first-up second beaten a nose by Trusting in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on September 3.
Second-up, back to Randwick where they are undefeated and back to their preferred distance of 2000 metres, My Kingdom Of Fife is sure to start the Craven Stakes favourite in the markets at Luxbet.
Waller will use My Kingdom Of Fife’s run in the Craven Plate as a guide to whether they will be suited to the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), Australasia’s weight-for-age championship to run at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Currently My Kingdom Of Fife is rated a $26 chance in the Luxbet Cox Plate 2011 futures odds which are lead by New Zealand’s Jimmy Choux ($7).
If not the Cox Plate, My Kingdom Of Fife will go to the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) run under handicap conditions a fortnight earlier, a race they are paying $31 to win through Luxbet.
“I’d say the Cox Plate is the preference at this stage but we will see how My Kingdom Of Fife goes on Saturday,” Waller said.
“My Kingdom Of Fife is going really well but we haven’t given him much racing so that we can get a long preparation out of him if we decide to go for something after the Caulfield Cup or the Cox Plate.”
The Craven Plate final field, released on Wednesday and published right here at Races.com.au, is far from determined with many of the nominees having been entered for other races on the day and also for events taking place on the Sunday at Flemington’s Turnbull Stakes Day.
Other big-name Craven Plate nominations include the five Robert Hickmott-trained stablemates At First Sight, Green Moon, Linton, Midas Touch and Mourayan.
Hickmott is vying for back-to-back Craven Plate victories having prepared last year’s winner C’est LA Guerre.
Also with multiple Craven Plate entries are Graeme Rogerson with Bid Spotter and Queensland Derby winner Shootoff; Gai Waterhouse with Lorne Dancer and Older Than Time; Anthony Cummings with Dealer Principal and Home On A Wing; and Michael Kent with American import Unusual Suspect and Zoomin.
Waller himself also has Hawk Island entered as an alternative option for The Metrop hope and Flyign Spur eight-year-old Syreon.
The Randwick race fields for Saturday, including acceptances for the Craven Plate, will be released on Wednesday.
While waiting for the fields, punters can get in on the futures spring betting markets open now at Luxbet for features including Saturday’s Epsom and Metropolitan Handicaps.
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2011 Craven Plate Nominations & Weights
|1||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||7||59kg||105|
|2||BID SPOTTER||Graeme Rogerson||12=||59kg||99|
|3||DEALER PRINCIPAL||Anthony Cummings||14||59kg||97|
|4||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes||12=||59kg||99|
|5||GAZZA GURU||Stephen Farley||21=||59kg||84|
|6||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||15||59kg||95|
|7||HAWK ISLAND (IRE)||Chris Waller||3=||59kg||109|
|8||HOME ON A WING||Anthony Cummings||21=||59kg||84|
|10||LORNE DANCER||Gai Waterhouse||10||59kg||103|
|11||MIDAS TOUCH (GB)||Robert Hickmott||2||59kg||112|
|12||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||6||59kg||106|
|13||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||1||59kg||114|
|15||UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA)||Michael Kent||5||59kg||108|
|16||VIKING LEGEND||Ross Simpson & Tracey Barnes||18=||59kg||89|
|17||ZARA DANCER (NZ)||Bruce Wallace||20||59kg||85|
|18||ZOOMIN (NZ)||Michael Kent||18=||59kg||89|
|19||PRAECIDO (NZ)||David Payne||17||58kg||90|
|20||SHOOTOFF (NZ)||Graeme Rogerson||8=||58kg||104|
|21||OLDER THAN TIME||Gai Waterhouse||8=||57kg||104|
|22||CRAFTY IRNA||Ron Quinton||16||56kg||92|