A crack line-up featuring many of this current crop’s best three-year-old gallopers will face off in the Royal Sovereign Stakes 2012 at Warwick Farm this Saturday, acceptances led by Ron Leemon’s Golden Rose winner Manawanui.
The ace Oratorio gelding has enjoyed a brilliant career so far winning six of their nine starts for a juicy $1.27 million in prize money, the most notable of which was in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney last September.
Manawanui, who is heading towards a run in the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 17, goes into the $175,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) on Saturday fresh off a three and a half month spell.
Their first-up assignment will be no walk in the park even after they came up trumps with barrier one as an imposing 12 rivals have been accepted for the 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes showdown, but jockey Tommy Berry remains bullish over their chances.
“I am due to ride Manawanui in a track galloper tomorrow,” Berry, who picked up the ride after regular jockey Glyn Schofield opted to ride Hay List in his big return against Black Caviar in the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday, said on Wednesday.
“I rode him once in his first campaign and he has obviously come on since then and although he meets a very good field on Saturday he should go very well especially if it is a wet track.”
While Manawanui was the big winner in the Royal Sovereign Stakes barriers, Gerald Ryan’s contender Hot Snitzel has suffered an early blow for their resuming run after coming up with gate 11.
The Group 2 winning and Group 1 placed Snitzel gelding was last seen finishing two and a half lengths away sixth to Sepoy in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day but trialled when running a close second over 900m in a Rosehill hitout on February 7.
The horse that beat Hot Snitzel home in that trial was Peter Moody’s boom three-year-old Moment Of Change who will also be out to challenge Manawanui first-up in the Royal Sovereign on Saturday.
Moment Of Change, to be ridden by Blake Shinn, came up trumps with barrier three as they look to salute in their third race from as many career starts to date, the son of Barley A Moment last seen beating home Meethaq by four lengths in a 1300-metre Sandown event in September.
Other notable gallopers that fared well in the Royal Sovereign barriers include Trevor Andrews’ visiting Perth raider King Saul in five coming off a third to Playing God in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot in December, the Patinack Farm-owned Isopach in six and Gwenda Markwell’s recent stable acquisition Salade.
Formerly prepared by the ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings, Snizel colt Salade was one of the top fancies for last year’s Golden Slipper after they stormed home to a smart two and half length win in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) on debut at Rosehill back in March.
Second-up, however, they could only manage to finish five and a half lengths away eight behind Darley superstar Sepoy in the $3.5 million Slipper, after which they were sent to the paddock.
Salade has had two trials in Sydney leading up to their debut run for Markwell, most recently finishing third over 900-metres at Rosehill.
They put it all on the line this weekend, part-owner Matthew Sandblom saying Salade would need to finish in the Royal Sovereign Stakes Quinella to earn a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival on March 10.
“He would have to run pretty well in the Royal Sovereign, pretty much first or second, to seriously consider the Newmarket,” Sandblom said.
“We’re expecting him to run a good race, and he is a horse that carries a bit of condition so sometimes he does look a bit fat, but that’s just the way he looks.
“He’ll probably get back and run on and we think he’s more of a sprinter rather than a miler.
“He’ll be ready for it as long as the track is not too wet and no worse than slow.
“He’s been out a while – you’ve got to give him a few runs in that class and we expect him to be competitive.
“If anything this is his chance to make a sire prospect of him.
“All the upside is in the better races so it’s really only a last resort.
“It will be an interesting race and it will give us a better guide where we head after that run.”
Meanwhile, two of the other top fancies for the Royal Sovereign Stakes 2012 are Guy Walter’s last-start Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes winner Doctor Doom and Bede Murray’s Spring Champion runner-up Darci Be Good who will jump from barriers nine and 10 respectively on Saturday.
See below for the complete 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
Betting on all the Warwick Farm features this weekend will be open at our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet later today, so make sure you are ready to lock in the best prices on your favourites by signing up with Luxbet now.
2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Warwick Farm Race 6 – 4:30pm – 18/02/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11X111216X||MANAWANUI||Ron Leemon||Tommy Berry||1||56kg||108|
|2||031312X16X||HOT SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Hugh Bowman||11||56kg||94|
|3||1X1413X||KING SAUL||Trevor Andrews||Brenton Avdulla||5||56kg||88|
|4||5318121X||DOCTOR DOOM||Guy Walter||Rod Quinn||9||56kg||92|
|5||7X21X1312X||DARCI BE GOOD (NZ)||Bede Murray||Peter Robl||10||56kg||90|
|6||513X07185X||ISOPACH||John P Thompson||Joao Moreira||6||56kg||84|
|7||18X||SALADE||Gwenda Markwell||Jay Ford||4||56kg||88|
|8||43X21LX||FREE WHEELING||Peter Snowden||Christian Reith||13||56kg||85|
|9||281134X||AMBIDEXTER||Peter Snowden||Joshua Parr||8||56kg||82|
|10||213X1851X||HENDRICUS||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||7||56kg||74|
|11||1226X||REKINDLED ALLIANCE||Paul Messara||Corey Brown||12||56kg||80|
|12||11X||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||Blake Shinn||3||56kg||73|
|13||39X10X12||TIME TO PLUNDER||Anthony Cummings||Jeff Penza||2||56kg||68|