A field full of Melbourne Cup-types will face off at Flemington on Australian Cup Day this Saturday in the 2012 Blamey Stakes, nominations for the mile feature taken on Monday.
There are currently 21 early entries for the $200,000 Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) this year, a race won 12 months ago by weight-for-age champion Whobegotyou.
This year’s edition of the Blamey Stakes could prove a useful online betting guide for punters looking towards the longer-distanced races of both the autumn and the spring including the coveted 2012 Melbourne Cup.
Among the Blamey Stakes nominations are many proven Cup horses including the Hawkes-trained Niwot.
After finishing 12th behind Southern Speed in last year’s Caulfield Cup, Galileo seven-year-old Niwot scored an impressive three length victory in the Group 3 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
They then backed up with an eye-catching eighth in the ‘race that stops a nation’ when beaten only four lengths by narrow Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.
Niwot resumed in 2012 with a first-up fifth behind Kiwi stayer King Mufhasa in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and looks set for improvement as they step up in distance throughout their prep.
Another eye-catcher from the spring to run in the Blamey Stakes 2012 is the Lloyd Williams-owned import Green Moon.
Winner of the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) in September, the Montjeu five-year-old went on to run a good second in the Caulfield Cup before bombing out next-start when 12th in the Lexus.
Other notable Blamey Stakes entries include Michael Moroney’s former Emirates Stakes winner and former Kiwi Wall Street, the David Payne-trained Centennial Park, Ballarat Cup champ Domesky and Peter Snowden’s last-start Autumn Stakes winning three-year-old Pied A Terre.
Also among the entires are Perth trio of veteran nine-year-old Scenic Shot, the Neville Parnham-trained Perth Cup runner-up God Has Spoken and Grant Williams’ Ranger to be ridden by Nash Rawiller.
Meanwhile a lesser-known galloper looking to extend their winning streak in the Blamey Stakes is the Colin Scott-trained Testa Rossa four-year-old Speediness.
Due to be ridden by ace jockey Glen Boss in the race on Saturday, Speediness is unbeaten this season having scored two narrow wins at Sale and then Flemington respectively last month, Scott confident they are ready for a class rise.
“He is my flagship horse and he’s doing himself proud,” Scott said.
“He’s got a great record now, he’s won four and he’s only been out of the money once, and he had a lot of good excuses.”
Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes is also now likely to accept for Extra Zero in the Blamey Stakes field after announcing former Melbourne Cup winner Americain would be his sole representative in the day’s marquee event, the $1 million Group 1 Dubai Australian Cup (2000m).
Stay tuned to Races.com.au throughout the week for all the latest Flemington race updates, including the Blamey Stakes final field to be released on Wednesday.
2012 Blamey Stakes Nominations & Weights
Flemington – 10/03/2012
|1||NIWOT||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||2||59kg||105|
|2||WALL STREET (NZ)||Michael Moroney||1||59kg||113|
|3||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||5||58kg||109|
|5||GOD HAS SPOKEN||Neville Parnham||4||58kg||104|
|7||SCENIC SHOT||Daniel Morton||3||58kg||112|
|8||SOUND JOURNEY||Darren Magro||7||58kg||98|
|10||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes||9||57kg||100|
|11||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||10||57kg||103|
|12||LIFE TO THE FULL||David & Scott Brunton||11||57kg||100|
|13||OVER QUOTA||Mark Webb||15||57kg||95|
|14||ROTHERA||Peter G Moody||12||57kg||104|
|16||HI BELLE||John Gunning||13||55kg||102|
|17||SNOW COVER||Jim Mason||21||55kg||87|
|19||TEARS I CRY||Anne McGrath||19||55kg||86|
|20||PIED A TERRE||Peter Snowden||14||54kg||95|