2011 AJ Scahill Stakes Nominations – Waratah’s Secret to Defend Title

David Harrison’s ultra-consistent galloper Waratah’s Secret leads the nominees for the AJ Scahill Stakes 2011, the key support race on a crack Kingston Town Classic Day card at Ascot this Saturday, the Oratorio five-year-old back to defend his title in the Group 3 feature.

There were originally 13 early entries for this year’s edition of the $125,000 Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes takes (1400m), 10 of which remain in contention following the withdrawal of Cobble Lane, Best Feature and Maschino.

Trainer Graham Yuill confirmed Encosta De Lago four-year-old Maschino would not run in the AJ Scahill on Saturday, a top two finish meaning they would likely be out-weighted for their other upcoming assignments.

“I will pull him out,” Yuill said.

“Being a Group race he will be penalized too many ratings points if he won or ran second.

“He is a horse with a bit of a future and we will let hime earn his way through the ratings this campaign.

“Next year we will look at Listed races like the Bunbury Stakes (March 11) for him.”

Likely to open the favourite when the AJ Schill Stakes final field is released and betting opens at our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet is defending champion Waratah’s Secret.

Since their AJ Scahill Stakes success 12 months ago, Waratah’s Secret has raced six times, recording another Group 3 win in the Prince Of Wales Stakes in October of this year.

They were last seen running a brave fourth beaten five lengths by Luckygray, who backs up in the $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on Saturday, in the Group 1 Railway Stakes over the Ascot mile on November 19.

Dropping well back in class and down to the 1400 metres on Saturday, Waratah’s Secret will take some beating.

Perhaps Waratah’s Secret’s most dangerous rival on Saturday will come from the Fred Kersley-trained Scenic six-year-old Grand Nirvana.

A four-time Group 3 winner, Grand Nirvana hasn’t finished out of the money since last year’s Kingston Town Classic.

In super form this season the veteran has run three times finishing second to Waratah’s Secret in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, second again to Ranger – another 2011 Kingston Town Classic hopeful – in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) before their eye-catching last-start third when beaten a length by class Melbourne mare Ortensia in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).

Other notable AJ Scahill Stakes nominees this year include Ivan Haggerty’s last-start Carbine Club of WA Stakes winner Grey Monarch, Grant Williams’ Colonel Reeves Stakes winner Avante, the Neville Parnham-trained veteran nine-year-old Tarzi and last year’s Winterbottom Stakes winner Hadabeclorka coming off a fourth in this year’s edition of the Group 1 sprint.

Hurricane Sky 10-year-old Hadabeclorka has also been accepted into the Saturday’s Kingston Town Classic 2011 field.

Stay tuned for the Festival of Perth Racing field and betting updates.

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2011 AJ Scahill Stakes Nominations

# Horse Trainer Wgt.
1 COBBLE LANE Robyne Martin 59kg
2 EGO’S DARE Gerald Ryan 59kg
3 ELUSIVE TOUCH Shane A Edwards 59kg
4 GRAND NIRVANA Fred Kersley 59kg
5 GREY MONARCH Ivan Haggerty 59kg
6 HADABECLORKA Brent Larsson 59kg
7 MASCHINO Graham Yuill 59kg
8 MORANT Ross & Clint Price 59kg
9 PIN ROUGE (NZ) Kristy Casey 59kg
10 TARZI Neville Parnham 59kg
11 WARATAH’S SECRET David Harrison 59kg
12 AVANTE Grant Williams 57kg
13 BEST FEATURE Ross & Clint Price 57kg