It seems the Halloween horrors have come early for Gai Waterhouse as her outstanding mare More Joyous came up with barrier 13 for the 2011 Myer Classic at Flemington’s Victoria Derby Day this Saturday.
Scheduled to run as Flemington Race 7 at 3:45pm (AEDST) as one of the four Group 1 highlights of Derby Day, the $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) drew a final field of 16 starters plus one emergency.
The most notable Myer Classic entries to drop out of contention at acceptance stage today were:
- Pane In The Glass (John Thompson) – Races instead in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at the meeting where she comes up against undefeated filly Atlantic Jewel
- Lights Of Heaven (Peter Moody) – Goes up against the Melbourne Cup hopes in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m)
- Secret Admirer (Grahame Begg) – As expected the Epsom Handicap winner gets a rest after their game fifth in the Cox Plate and bypasses Derby Day going straight into the $1 million Emirates Stakes (1600m) Saturday week
More Joyous shoots for her sixth Group 1 victory on Saturday in the Myer Classic, her last elite level triumph having been in the Queen of the Turf Stakes at Rosehill back in April.
Back to her best last-start winning the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) second-up for the season, her resuming run being a game third behind Saturday’s 2011 Coolmore Stud Stakes favourite Sepoy in the Manikato Stakes, More Joyous will take some beating on Saturday even from her disastrous gate.
Over the mile she boasts an imposing record, her only loss at the distance being her failed Doncaster Mile run on a Heavy (10) track after which she pulled up lame.
After watching her mare perform to perfection in a solo workout at Flemington earlier in the week, Waterhouse was characteristically bullish heading to the Myer Classic.
“She is fabulous, she is fantastic,” Waterhouse said.
“She worked over 1200 metres, form the top of the straight she worked home, she got a little slap on the shoulder because she got a bit lost and then she charged to the line.
“She’ll be very hard to beat in that Myer Classic on Saturday.
“Her form has been great coming into it.”
Another Myer Classic hopeful to suffer an early blow with an awkward barrier gate is defending champion Sacred Choice.
The Choisir mare has come up with the far outside barrier 17 as she looks to go back-to-back in the classic having beaten home former Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy by nearly five lengths in the wet last Derby Day.
Sacred Choice needs rain and lots of it to really feature here, all of her best runs being on Heavy ground including her Doncaster Mile victory in the autumn.
It is the second nasty gate Joe Pride’s mare has drawn in as many starts, Sacred Choice having come up with 17 of 17 for the Epsom Handicap on October 1 when she finished five lengths away ninth to Secret Admirer.
Other Notable 2011 Myer Classic Hopes & Their Barriers are:
- #16 Mosheen (Barrier 12) – Robert Smerdon’s exciting and always honest filly has work to do from barrier 12, but if there is one hoop you’d want in the mount it is Craig Williams, she is a real threat with just 49kg meaning she meets her rivals a minimum 7.5kg better in the weights
- #3 Lady Lynette (Barrier 4) – Tasmanian mare will get all the favours from this gate and is due to be ridden by Michael Rodd, comes off a third in the Group 3 Tesio Stakes (1600m) on Cox Plate Day which definitely wasn’t her best run, but Flemington will suit better
- #4 Response (Barrier 3) – A champion mare in solid form drawn in gate three? Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra’s Charge Forward five-year-old is definitely in the mix, comes off two close thirds in Melbourne including behind More Joyous in the Tristarc last-start when she had barrier 11 and 58.5kg to contend with, into gate three and down to 57kg makes her a threat
Below is the complete 2011 Myer Classic final field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2011 Myer Classic Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||5X11110X31||MORE JOYOUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||13||57kg||121|
|2||03512X7589||SACRED CHOICE||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||17||57kg||115|
|3||232X743103||LADY LYNETTE||David & Scott Brunton||Michael Rodd||4||57kg||108|
|4||X74167X833||RESPONSE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Dwayne Dunn||3||57kg||110|
|5||X24452X048||MAJESTIC MUSIC||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Newitt||2||57kg||101|
|6||8546X667X8||MOMENT IN TIME||John P Thompson||Joao Moreira||1||57kg||97|
|7||X971518X25||HURTLE MYRTLE||Matthew Smith||Damien Oliver||15||57kg||104|
|8||17X031X035||DYSPHONIA||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||8||57kg||100|
|9||1249115X50||VARENNA MISS||Tony Noonan||Steven King||9||57kg||105|
|10||362633X231||SKYERUSH||Guy Walter||Steven Arnold||5||57kg||99|
|11||24310X6504||GOON SERPENT||David Jolly||Nicholas Hall||7||57kg||95|
|12||90X601X007||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Ms Michelle Payne||14||56.5kg||108|
|13||156X035X27||SISTINE ANGEL||Andrew Noblet||Danny Nikolic||6||56.5kg||102|
|14||96521107X1||BANCHEE (NZ)||John Sargent||James McDonald (a)||16||56.5kg||89|
|15||05X1513X18||BORN TO ROCK||Michael Moroney||Glyn Schofield||11||56.5kg||97|
|16||12X35312||MOSHEEN||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||12||49kg||100|
|17e||10X1110X26||GUISEPPINA (NZ)||S. Ramsay & J. Ritchie||–||10||57kg||89|