This Saturday the sole black-type feature on the Aussie race cards will run at Victoria’s famous Flemington Racecourse with the 2012 Kensington Stakes.
This year the $125,000 Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) has attracted 15 nominations.
The top-rated of the early entries is the Anthony Freedman-trained First Command.
A classy Commands six-year-old, First command resumed racing on January 7 with a smart first-up third when beaten only a quarter length by Chasm in the Listed Doveton Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
For the Doveton First Command carried 59kg and they drop back to 58kg on Saturday under the set weights plus penalties conditions.
Two gallopers share the 59kg topweight in the Kensington Stakes 2012 with the Clinton McDonald-trained Bigelow and Byron Cozamanis’ defending champ Grand Duels.
Veteran eight-year-old Grand Duels hasn’t been seen in the winner’s stall since their Kensington Stakes win 12 months ago, which came on the back of two Caulfield wins the previous December including in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) on Boxing Day when they overcame barrier 15 of 15.
For their Kensington win last year they carried 59.5kg and so they will enjoy a half kilo drop when vying for back-to-back titles on Saturday having run third last start at Morphettville over 1100 metres on December 26.
There are four last-start winners among the 2012 Kensington Stakes nominees with Obsidian Dragon, General Truce, Decircles and Rifleman.
Morphettville-based Hidden Dragon mare Obsidian Dragon has been in flying form during her most recent preparation winning three straight races by a cumulative seven lengths.
Her most recent turf triumph was in a 1000 metre handicap at Moonee Valley on December 31 when she carried 59.5kg to a smart three length win, Obsidian Dragon sure to enjoy the drop back to 56kg for the Kensington.
Ricky Maund’s Brief Truce four-year-old General Truce was also a Moonee Valley winner on New Year’s Eve over 955 metres, the distance of the Kensington to suit.
Promising Encosta De Lago three-year-old Decirlces from the local Flemington stables of Danny O’Brien makes an interesting addition to the Kensington this year, the lightly-raced colt having just their fifth career start should they accept.
After a short three-run juvenile campaign that culminated with a second place finish to stablemate Running Tall in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in March, Decircles was last seen running away to win over 1209 metres at Seymour when defeating Godspeed by four and a half lengths on August 7 and will be the fresh horse in Saturday’s race.
The final of the last-start winners is the fellow O’Brien-trained three-year-old Rifleman.
The well-bred son of Hussonet from Redoute’s Choice mare Opportunity has had just two career starts to date.
After a distant fourth to Golden Archer on debut in the Listed St Albans Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley in March, the up-and-comer raced first-up on January 5 when easily accounting for their rivals by a minimum four lengths in the Eclipse Ford Plate (1000m) at Ballarat carrying 58kg.
Coming back to just 52.5kg for the Kensington, Rifleman is a definite horse to watch in the Luxbet markets.
Bookmark us here at Races.com.au to view the 2012 Kensington Stakes field, jockeys, barriers and odds later in the week.
2012 Kensington Stakes Nominations
|2||GRAND DUELS||Byron Cozamanis||1||59kg||101|
|4||FIRST COMMAND||Anthony Freedman||3||58kg||105|
|5||SHOCK VALUE||David Hayes||4||58kg||97|
|6||ESPRIT DE BULLET (NZ)||Mick Price||12||56kg||82|
|8||GENERAL TRUCE||Ricky Maund||8||56kg||93|
|9||GRAN SASSO||David Brideoake & David Feek||7||56kg||95|
|10||OBSIDIAN DRAGON||David Balfour||6||56kg||100|
|11||THE SOLDIER||Byron Cozamanis||9||56kg||93|
|12||WEEKEND SPECIAL||Mark Kavanagh||11||56kg||85|
|13||STAR OF GISELLE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||13||54kg||75|