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.
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|
|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|
|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|