Mick Price’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready is the big defector from the 2012 HDF McNeil Stakes field at Caulfield Racecourse this Saturday, the smart filly battling a mystery minor illness.
One of two Group races on the Memsie Stakes Day card, the $150,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) is scheduled to jump at 2:15pm as Caulfield Race 4 with a 12-horse field engaged.
The most notable absentee from the field following the acceptances is Samaready who left her feed on Monday night and was subsequently found to have an elevated white blood count when Price ordered blood tests on Tuesday.
“She’s got an elevated white cell count, which tells us she is starting to fight off something,” Price said.
“We have had to start her on antibiotics for a few days so she can’t run on Saturday. Maybe she is at the start of a cycle of a cold or something like that.
“It’s not a virus so we’ll treat her and see how she bounces back.”
Of the 12 remaining McNeil Stakes hopefuls the one to watch will be Elite Elle out wide in barrier 10, Tony Vasil’s unbeaten Shamardal filly having defeated Samaready last time out.
Samaready ran a first-up fourth in a shock defeat when failing to let down in the wet at Caulfield in the Quezette Stakes on August 18, Elite Elle winning the feature by a length over Agueda.
While she was obviously suited to the muddy conditions the four time winner also has winning form on Dead ground with a big win on debut at Bendigo back in May.
Other hopefuls with wider draws to overcome on Saturday are Anthony Freedman’s stakes winner in Tasmania Cheyenne Warrior (barrier 11) and the Gerald Ryan-trained Amorino (barrier 12).
Snitzel colt Amorino was last seen running a credible ninth when beaten four and a half lengths by Pierro in the Golden Slipper back in early April.
Saturday sees them make their Melbourne debut and Ryan is confident they have come back a more mature horse and more imposing force.
“He trialled well the other day and has come back in good order,” Ryan said of the Caulfield Guineas-bound three-year-old.
Jockey Steven Arnold reunites with Amorino in the McNeil Stakes having ridden them in the Slipper.
“He rode him in the Slipper so he knows him well,” Ryan said of Arnold.
Horses that came up trumps in the McNeil Stakes barrier draw meanwhile include Dean Lawson’s dual stakes winner Underestimation (barrier two) who carries the 58.5kg topweight under the set weights plus penalties conditions, VRC Sires Produce Stakes runner-up Pronto Pronto (barrier one) who resumed with a fourth to the injured She’s A Fox in The Rosebud in Sydney, and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Kabayan (barrier six) who will be ridden by Luke Nolen for the first time.
Hardasun gelding Kabayan is sure to start one of the top fancies in the McNeil Stakes odds having won their debut run at Wyong back in May before two devastatingly close second place finishes including having been defeated by a only a nose by Sizzling in the Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m) last time out at Eagle Farm on June 9.
The full 2012 HDF McNeil Stakes field, barriers, jockeys and weights can be found in the table below.
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2012 HDF McNeil Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 4 – 2:15pm – 01/09/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||5x7121x5||UNDERESTIMATION||Dean Lawson||Vlad Duric||2||58.5kg||82|
|2||11×6||CHEYENNE WARRIOR||Anthony Freedman||Daniel Moor||11||58kg||70|
|3||1x16x49x||AMORINO||Gerald Ryan||Steven Arnold||12||57kg||76|
|4||1111||ELITE ELLE||Tony Vasil||Mark Zahra||10||56kg||84|
|5||122x||KABAYAN||Gai Waterhouse||Luke Nolen||6||56kg||78|
|6||412×4||PRONTO PRONTO||Jason Warren||James Winks||1||56kg||74|
|7||125x||SHAMEXPRESS (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||7||56kg||70|
|8||12x||ABOUT SQUARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Luke Currie||9||56kg||66|
|9||28x||IF I COULD (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||3||56kg||64|
|10||71x||SHEER TALENT||Mark Kavanagh||Glen Boss||4||56kg||62|
|11||4x||FORCE COMMAND||Greg Eurell||Chris Symons||8||56kg||62|
|12||4x61x0||LADY OF HARRODS||Russell Cameron||Michael Walker||5||54kg||68|