While Rosehill Garden’s Golden Slipper Day in Sydney is the highlight Easter Saturday race meeting this weekend, Victorian fans won’t be short of a good time either with the Victoria Handicap 2012 one of two Group features on the Caulfield race card.
Running along with the always popular Easter Cup, this year’s edition of the $125,000 Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) drew 23 nominations at early entry stage on Monday.
Father and sons training team John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes prepare the two top-rated and weighted hopefuls with Love Conquers All (61kg) and Happy Zero (60kg).
Multiple Group 1 performing Mossman five-year-old Love Conquers All resumed for the year with a credible first-up fifth, beaten under two lengths, by More Joyous in the Group 2 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on March 24.
A Group 2 winner of The Shorts at Rosehill last September, Love Conquers All’s other most notable achievements include their three Group 1 seconds in the George Ryder Stakes, Doncaster Mile and Doomben 10,000 all on the trot last autumn – winter preparation.
Former Hong Kong galloper Happy Zero, meanwhile comes off a first-up sixth in the Canterbury.
Some of the other big name entries in the feature include the Mick Price-trained miler Testa My Patience, Peter Moody’s one-time 2011 Caulfield Cup fancy Lights Of Heaven and the Jim Conlan-trained Larry’s Never Late.
Last year’s successful Victoria Handicap quinella, winner Red Colossus and runner-up Time Matters, have also both been nominated again this year.
Greg Eurell’s Testa Rossa five-year-old Red Colossus has been less than impressive this year having finished 11th and 14th respectively in their two opening runs.
Eurell, however, remains confident of a form return when they defend their Victoria Handicap title on the weekend.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he kicked back,” Eurell said.
“Really there is no reason for him not to as he has given us every sign that he is in good shape.”
If successful on Saturday Red Colossus will become just the third dual Victoria Handicap winner in history joining Jet Fighter (1897-88) and Debrief (2002-03).
Meanwhile some of the Victoria Handicap hopefuls coming off good recent form include the Tony Vasil-trained Newcastle Newmarket Handicap fourth placed Under The Eiffel, Mark Kavanagh’s last-start Listed Matrice Stakes (1300m) winner at Morphettville Bagman, Anthony Freedman’s Super Saturday Stakes winner Smokin’ Joey and Stephen Mckee‘s Kiwi visitor Eight Schillings.
Get ready for all the egg-citing Easter Saturday racing and betting action both in Sydney and Melbourne by opening your online betting account with bookmaker.com.au today.
2012 Victoria Handicap Nominations & Weights
Caulfield – 07/04/2012
|1||LOVE CONQUERS ALL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||1||61kg||112|
|2||HAPPY ZERO||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||2||60kg||110|
|3||TESTA MY PATIENCE||Mick Price||4||57.5kg||105|
|4||LIGHTS OF HEAVEN (NZ)||Peter G Moody||3||55.5kg||105|
|6||LARRY’S NEVER LATE (NZ)||Jim Conlan||5||55kg||100|
|7||RED COLOSSUS||Greg Eurell||6||55kg||100|
|8||UNDER THE EIFFEL||Tony Vasil||8||54.5kg||99|
|11||DEL PALIO||Colin & Cindy Alderson||22=||54kg||76|
|12||EIGHT SCHILLINGS (NZ)||Stephen Mckee||12||54kg||96|
|14||FASTER SON||Mick Price||16||54kg||92|
|15||FLAT CHAT||John Sadler||15||54kg||93|
|16||IT’S CRUNCH TIME||Doug Harrison||21||54kg||80|
|18||LANGRIDGE STREET||Michael Hibbs||22=||54kg||76|
|20||SHEILA’S STAR||Mick Price||20||54kg||81|
|21||SHOCK VALUE||David Hayes||9=||54kg||98|
|22||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Anthony Freedman||11||54kg||96|
|23||UTAH SAINTS||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||13||54kg||95|