This Thursday’s Australia Day race meeting at Caulfield is set to host the race return of Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed, the classy mare one of favourites to win the 2012 John Dillon Stakes despite it being an unsuitable race for the 2012 Australian Cup-bound champ.
Due to jump at 6:20pm (VIC time) as Caulfield Race 6, the $100,000 Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) has drawn a final field of 13 gallopers with the Leon MacDonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained Southern Speed the 60kg topweight.
Drawn nicely in barrier two with ace hoop Craig Williams engaged, the Southern Image four-year-old races for the first time since her game fourth to Glass Harmonium in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
That run came just one start after Southern Speed’s upset success in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), and although she is heavily weighted for Thursday, connections remain hopeful of a strong first-up run from their stable ace.
“I think she can (win),”co-trained Macdonald said.
“Nothing’s impossible for a good horse, but being realistic about it, she’ll probably show her best when she gets to about 1800 (metres).
“But she’s got to have a couple of runs before that and she’s got enough class to be competitive this week, I’m sure.
“I’m very happy with her.
“She’s dappled up and she look ssensational.”
Macdonald has a three-run Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign mapped out for Southern Speed following her return on Thursday, her grand final goal being the $1 million Group 1 Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10.
Southern Speed was this week one of 53 early entries making up the 2012 Australian Cup nominations.
Her other autumn runs are scheduled to be in the $400,000 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11 where Black Caviar could be among her rivals, and then the $200,000 Group 2 St George Stakes (1800m) back at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 25.
As she gives plenty of weight to some class rivals, and the distance being short of her preferred, Southern Speed is rated a $7 chance in the latest John Dillon Stakes odds at Luxbet.
Three rivals sit above her in the markets with current $4.40 favourite Shadowfax from the Mark Kavanagh stables, last-start Chester Manifold Stakes winner At The Heads ($5.50 Luxbet).
The other single-figure chance in the John Dillon betting this year is Robbie Griffith’s veteran Danzero eight-year-old Danzylum at $9.50 through Luxbet.
Check out the complete 2012 John Dillon Stakes field, barriers and betting odds in the table below.
2012 John Dillon Stakes Final Field & Odds
Caulfield Race 6 – 26/01/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rtg.||Odds*|
|1||3X0042414X||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Williams||2||60kg||111||7.00 Luxbet|
|2||05410X600X||SOUND JOURNEY||Darren Magro||Danny Nikolic||1||57.5kg||102||41.00 Luxbet|
|3||23X19X609X||LARGO LAD||David Hayes||Steven Arnold||9||57kg||101||21.00 Luxbet|
|4||X34112115X||KING DIAMOND||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||12||56kg||99||14.00 Luxbet|
|5||X4008076X1||CHASM||Brendan McCarthy||Chris Symons||5||55.5kg||98||6.00 Luxbet|
|6||X036900X80||DANZYLUM||Robbie Griffiths||Luke Currie||8||55kg||97||9.50 Luxbet|
|7||1X4312121X||VIVID VIXEN (NZ)||Mick Price||Glen Boss||11||55kg||101||10.00 Luxbet|
|8||X4110X4209||SHADOWFAX (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||6||54.5kg||96||4.40 Luxbet|
|9||31X2081XP5||SHOUT OUT LOUD||Peter G Moody||Dwayne Dunn||7||54.5kg||96||17.00 Luxbet|
|10||626X79X251||AT THE HEADS (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||4||54kg||93||5.50 Luxbet|
|11||604406727X||SADDLER’S STORY||Robert Smerdon||Ms Lisa Cropp||10||54kg||93||81.00 Luxbet|
|12||X637685124||VEEWAP||Tony Vasil||Craig Newitt||13||54kg||93||16.00 Luxbet|
|13||28X18X4X1||ROYAL RAMBLER||Michael Drew||Michael Walker||3||54kg||65||31.00 Luxbet|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by Luxbet and subject to change