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After yesterday’s nominations revealed 13 original hopefuls heading towards a start in the other Perth Group race at Ascot this Saturday, the 2011 AJ Scahill Stakes, acceptances taken today have left an eight-horse final field to fight it out in the weight-for-age showdown.
Due to run as Ascot Race 8 at 4:40pm (Perth time) on Kingston Town Classic Day, the $125,000 Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) will see the David Harrison-trained Waratah’s Secret vie for back-to-back wins following their success in the race 12 months ago.
Drawn midfield in barrier four, the Oratorio five-year-old having jumped from nine of 10 in last year’s AJ Scahill Stakes, Waratah’s Secret comes off a credible fourth when beaten four lengths by Saturday’s Kingston Town Classic favourite Luckygray ($2.90 Luxbet) in the $1 million Group1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 19.
Meanwhile, Ivan Haggerty’s Verglas seven-year-old Grey Monarch is the only horse in the AJ Scahill Stakes field this year coming off a last-start win.
The in-form grey backed up from their third to Westriver Kevydonn in the Group 3 RJ Peter Stakes (1500m) to take out the Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes 91400m) in a tidy run along the rails at Ascot on November 19.
On Saturday Grey Monarch will jump from barrier seven, giving them more work to do than their last-start run from the inside alley.
Along with Waratah’s Secret, the three other best-drawn AJ Scahill Stakes horses are William Pike’s mount Morant (barrier three), Neville Parnham’s nine-year-old Desert Prince gelding Tarzi (barrier two) and Hurricane Sky mare Avante (barrier one).
The Grant Williams-trained Avante was disappointing last start when four and a half lengths away 10th to Melbourne mare Ortensia in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), but in her previous start for the season she won the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) first-up on November 1.
Williams is also preparing to saddle up four runners in the Kingston Town Classic on Saturday, the favourite of which is Ranger ($3.70 Luxbet).
Ranger won the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) in emphatic fashion two starts back, and the horse that finished second to him in the Lee Steere, the Fred Kersley-trained Grand Nirvana, is one of the best chances in the AJ Scahill Stakes on Saturdya.
Scenic six-year-old Grand Nirvana comes off a brave third beaten just over a length in the Winterbottom Stakes after making up plenty of ground from their barrier 10 of 12 draw, and from gate six with Brad Rawiller aboard this weekend are sure to attract plenty of punters.
See below for the full 2011 A.J. Scahill Stakes field, barriers and jockeys.
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2011 AJ Scahill Stakes Field & Barriers
Ascot Race 8 – 03/12/2011
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||7X6736X557||TARZI||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||2||59kg|
|2||40X113X223||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||Brad Rawiller||6||59kg|
|3||41XLX22134||WARATAH’S SECRET||David Harrison||Paul Harvey||4||59kg|
|4||21445X6431||GREY MONARCH||Ivan Haggerty||Troy Turner||7||59kg|
|5||7420X54099||EGO’S DARE||Gerald Ryan||Glyn Schofield||5||59kg|
|6||2134X1X906||ELUSIVE TOUCH||Shane A Edwards||Peter Knuckey||8||59kg|
|7||23111X1748||MORANT||Ross & Clint Price||William Pike||3||59kg|
|8||11X1134X10||AVANTE||Grant Williams||Ms Kyra Yuill (a)||1||57kg|
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