In what is the first black-type race of the new season in Adelaide, a strong field will turn out for the Group 3 $115,000 2012 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphetville on Saturday.
All eyes will be on 2011 Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed who will use the race as the first stop on the road to a defence of the prestigious spring feature.
The Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas-trained mare will be ridden by Claire Lindop in her return race when she comes from barrier two.
The race will be used for a number of horses making their return from winter spells, with six of the 10-horse field set to be running first-up.
Running for the first time since last October is multuple black-type winner Alcopop who trialled alongside fellow starter Happy Trails on Monday.
Alcopop will come from barrier eight in his first run since a spring campaign that saw him win the Listed Penny Edition Stakes and run second in the Group 2 Dato’ Chin Nam Stakes.
Despite a resume with just two wins from 23 starts, five-year-old Happy Trails has produced a number of performances that suggest a big victory is not too far away.
The Paul Beshara-trained gelding finished fourth in both the Group 2 Ajax Stakes and Group 3 Doncaster Prelude in the autumn before running respectably when 1 1/12 lengths behind winner More Joyous in the Doncaster Mile.
Stepping up to black-type racing for the first time is in-form mare Light Express who has been in dominant form in lower level races recently.
The Fastnet Rock five-year-old has won her last three starts with her smallest winning margin 1 1/2 lengths.
Also chasing a fourth consecutive victory is local gelding The Eighth Maker who is returning from a spell.
The seven-year-old was in sensational form over the summer which culminated with victory in the Listed City of Marion Stakes in December.
Also named in the final field for the Adelaide sprint are Victorian mare Gossip Girl and last-start winner Drifting Spirit.
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Spring Stakes 2012 – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x910x5129x||ALCOPOP||Jake Stephens||Dom Tourneur||8||58.5kg||105|
|2||00x684172x||DIPLOMATIC FORCE||Wayne Nichols||Craig Robertson||9||58.5kg||98|
|3||44x233446x||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Jason Holder||10||58.5kg||96|
|4||137x13111x||THE EIGHTH MAKER||Lloyd Kennewell||Paul Gatt||5||58.5kg||96|
|5||36127×3114||JUSTIFY THAT||Peter Moody||Ms Libby Hopwood||3||58.5kg||95|
|6||161052620x||CANDLE||Tony McEvoy||Matthew Neilson||4||58.5kg||94|
|7||9x221117x5||BERTUCCI||Lloyd Kennewell||Chad Lever||6||58.5kg||87|
|8||723x40x941||DRIFTING SPIRIT||Darren Egan||Ms Melanie Tyndall (a)||11||58.5kg||59|
|9||14x125255x||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Ms Clare Lindop||2||56.5kg||112|
|10||12104×5125||GOSSIP GIRL||Jim Mason||Daniel Moor||7||56.5kg||92|
|11||366317×111||LIGHT EXPRESS||Michael Hibbs||Darren Gauci||1||56.5kg||85|