Hawk Island Tops 2012 JRA Plate Field

Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller may have his attention focused on his four-horse Doncaster Mile contingent at Royal Randwick this Saturday but he will also have one eye on a less prestigious race on the program with Hawk Island one of four chances for him in the Japan Racing Association Plate 2012.

Hawk Island

Hawk Island defends their title in the 2012 JRA Plate at Randwick on Saturday

Running as Race 6 at 2:55pm on Saturday, one event before the headline event the 2012 Doncaster Mile runs, the $100,000 Listed Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m) has drawn a capacity field of 14 starters plus five emergencies.

To wear the No. 1 saddlecloth as the 59kg topweight is Waller’s defending JRA Plate winner Hawk Island.

The now seven-year-old Hawk Wing gelding got the better of a good field of stayers in this race 12 months ago on a Heavy (10) Randwick track, and they could get the same muddy conditions for their title defense on Saturday with the course currently a Heavy (8).

Hawk Island, in barrier one on Saturday, was one of the top fancies for the Sydney Cup after his JRA Plate success last autumn but they fell during the run.

While their form this year hasn’t been quite as good as last, Hawk Island was far from disgraced last start when running sixth in The BMW and they are rated a $26 chance to continue on Saturday week and win the $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Cup over the two miles.

Waller’s other JRA Plate hopefuls this year are then six-year-old Snow Alert who came up with the far outside barrier, former New Zealander Firebolt in gate 10 and Flying Spur mare Vintedge in five who ran fourth in the race last year.

Snow Alert showed good improvement third-up last start when they came within a length of Western Symbol and Southern Skye in the Group 3 HKJC Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.

Following Hawk Island in the JRA Plate field and weights is then the Gai Waterhouse-trained Herculian Prince on 58.5kg.

Drawn in barrier eight with Nash Rawiller to ride the Yamanin Vital six-year-old hasn’t won a race since their break through Group 1 victory in the 2012 The Metropolitan and was a distant seventh, beaten over 18 lengths, in the wet in this race 12 months ago.

Waterhouse has also accepted for HKJC Stakes winner Western Symbol who has barrier 11 with Tommy Berry engaged, and fourth emergency Kinnersley.

High Chaparral five-year-old Western Symbol caught the eye at Randwick during a hitout on Tuesday when they got the better of $11 Doncaster hope Niagara in a track gallop.

Western Symbol, who is the shortest-priced of the JRA Plate acceptors in the futures Sydney Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $16, is also one of two last-start winners in the JRA Plate this year along with Fibrillation.

Tim Martin’s in-form grey mare has come up with a wide barrier 18 draw but looks in top form having own her opening two starts for the season including the Group 3 Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on March 31.

Other notable players include the David Hayes-trained Extra Zero, Doncaster Prelude fourth placed Happy Trails with Craig Williams to ride, HKJC Stakes runner-up Southern Skye.

The full 2012 Japan Racing Association Plate field, barriers and weights can be found in the table below.

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2012 Japan Racing Association Plate Final Field & Barrier Draw

Royal Randwick Race 6 – 2:55pm – 21/04/2012

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp. Rating
1 02200X0006 HAWK ISLAND (IRE) Chris Waller - 1 59kg 104
2 X0000X4525 HERCULIAN PRINCE (NZ) Gai Waterhouse Nash Rawiller 8 58.5kg 103
3 0225X58719 EXTRA ZERO David Hayes - 17 57kg 100
4 5X1X77X0X4 LARRY’S NEVER LATE (NZ) Jim Conlan Michael Rodd 9 57kg 100
5 5864X8X603 SNOW ALERT Chris Waller - 19 56kg 98
6 19X3579X11 FIBRILLATION Tim Martin - 18 55.5kg 101
7 222250X116 DANCE WITH HER David Brideoake & David Feek - 15 54.5kg 99
8 1010X3X700 FIREBOLT (NZ) Chris Waller - 10 54.5kg 95
9 3312130X11 WESTERN SYMBOL (NZ) Gai Waterhouse Tommy Berry 11 54.5kg 95
10 05321X7587 VINTEDGE Chris Waller - 5 54kg 97
11 X0770X5958 BID SPOTTER Graeme Rogerson Craig Newitt 13 54kg 93
12 3144X23344 HAPPY TRAILS Paul Beshara Craig Williams 14 54kg 92
13 2X86880722 SOUTHERN SKYE Paul Perry Brenton Avdulla 6 54kg 91
14 990X948106 AL DHAFRA Guy Walter - 16 54kg 90
15e 64410X4864 ZARA DANCER (NZ) Jim & Greg Lee Adam Hyeronimus (a) 2 54kg 90
16e 5151724X07 ADROITLY Peter Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 12 54kg 85
17e 08X0614229 JIMMY FORTUNES Michael Clout Christian Reith 4 54kg 83
18e 2X09X14816 KINNERSLEY Gai Waterhouse Jim Cassidy 7 54kg 80
19e X4113X8259 DANCING ATTENDANCE Guy Walter - 3 54kg 71