This Saturday the second leg of the Doomben Summer Series will take centre stage in Brisbane with the 2011 Lough Neagh Stakes, a crack list featuring many stakes winners having been nominated for the lucrative feature.
A total of 17 early entries were taken today for the $200,000 Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) including the Desleigh Forster-trained Adebisi who saluted in the opening leg of the Doomben Triple Crown when taking out the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (12000m) back on December 10.
After an eye-catching half-length win over the former Bart Cummings-trained Latin News on a Slow (7) track for the George Moore, Shovhog four-year-old Adebisi will now look to add the Lough Neagh Stakes victory to their record and extend their winning streak to three from three for the season.
If successful on Saturday Adebisi could then continue onto the third and final leg of the Doomben Summer Series, the $200,000 Bernborough Handicap (1615m) on New Year’s Eve and attempt a clean sweep only ever achieved before by Natural Destiny in 2006-2007.
“If he happens to win the Lough Neagh I’m not going to rush my decision about his next run,” Forster said.
“I’m not saying yes and I’m not saying no about trying to win the third leg as well.
“But he’d have to back up a week later to go for the Bernborough and there’s always the Goldmarket Handicap two days later.”
The $100,000 Listed Goldmarket Handicap (1300m) on the Gold Coast on January 2 may be worth half the prize money, but the shorter distance may be more suitable for Adebisi depending on what they show in the Lough Neagh.
“I’m sure he will run a mile (1600 metres) but if we went the Goldmarket way he’s only dropping back 50 metres,” Forster said.
Adebisi has had just one previous start over the mile when they finished a credible four lengths away fifth behind Pressday in the Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m) as a two-year-old at Eagle Farm back in June of last year.
“He ran the mile as a two-year-old and he’s more mature and racing a lot more settled since he’s been gelded,” Forster said.
“When records like this come around it’s always tempting but I’ll do the best think for the horse.”
It is shaping up as a supercharged Lough Neagh Stakes showdown this year, the top-rated of the nominees being defending champion Zero Rock.
Kelso Wood’s high performing Danzero mare resumed after a five month spell with a first-up win in the Listed Travel Associates Classic (1200m) at Eagle Farm on December 3, the same race she won last year on way to her Lough Neagh Stakes success.
Zero Rock is also one runner that Forster is very well aware of when it comes to planning race tactics for Adebisi in the Lough Neagh.
“He had too much speed for them in the George Moore so you would expect he’d probably lead again,” Forster said.
“But Zero Rock also likes to lead and if she wants to head him then I’m happy for Adebisi to take a trail.”
It is set to be a very similar Lough Neagh Stakes field to that of the George Moore Stakes with other entries coming via the race including Tony Gollan’s Toowoomba galloper Spirit Of Boom (3rd), the Rob Heathcote-trained Excellantes (4th), Gillian Heinrich’s recent stable acquisition Startsmeup (5th), Pat Duff’s Steel Zip (6th), Sunshine Coast raider Ready To Rip (8th), the Barry Baldwin-trained grey Havatryst (9th), this year’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas fourth placegetter Celtic Dancer (10th), Keith Noud Quality third placegetter Essington (11th) and the Bryan Guy-trained Shuffle The Cash (12th).
The Lough Neagh Stakes 2011 final field of acceptances is due to be released on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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2011 Lough Neagh Stakes Nominations
|2||CELTIC DANCER||Noel J Doyle||86|
|7||JAZZ HEART||Bryan Guy||88|
|8||LISTEN SON||Tony Gollan||100|
|10||MY DESTINY||Con Karakatsanis||–|
|11||POOR JUDGE||Wayne Nugent||101|
|12||READY TO RIP||Andrew Williamson||89.5|
|13||SHUFFLE THE CASH||Bryan Guy||97|
|14||SPIRIT OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||91|
|16||STEEL ZIP||Pat Duff||83|
|17||ZERO ROCK||Kelso Wood||106|