With 2012 Caulfield Cup ballot exemption up for grabs, an expected full field was this morning named to contest the Group 3 2012 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
A mixture of experienced stayers and emerging talents are included in the 16-horse field as well as some in-form horses and those trying to build fitness as the spring heats up.
One of the more inexperienced horses in the field is New Zealand four-year-old Zurella who has won five times from nine starts.
The New Zealand Oaks runner-up brought an excellent record with her to Australia and impressed first-up when winning the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes.
Craig Newitt was on board for the Let’s Elope win and he will retain the ride this weekend after declaring bigger things to come for the daughter of Zabeel.
“She is very, very good,” Newitt said after the first-up win.
Another last-start winner in the field is Cuban Sunday who took out the Listed Slickpix Stakes at Caulfield on September one.
Also lightly raced is Michael Moroney-trained gelding Shenzhou Steeds who has won seven times from 16 starts.
The five-year-old won both the Ipswich and Caloundra Cups over the winter and was solid first-up when sixth to Southern Speed in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
Showing good form heading into Saturday’s hitout is Exceptionally who won two starts back during the winter and opened his spring campaign with a runner-up finish to the Lloyd Williams-owned Excluded.
Other horses in the big Naturalism Stakes field include Adelaide Cup winner Rialya, Darren Weir-trained gelding Streets Away and Robert Smerdon’s Shewan.
This a great race to follow in the lead-up to the Caulfield Cup which you can now bet on at bookmaker.com.au.
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Naturalism Stakes 2012 – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||02234x94x0||SEVILLE (GER)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||8||58kg||106|
|2||069x6908x9||UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA)||Michael Kent||Peter Mertens||1||57kg||104|
|3||25x91611x6||SHENZHOU STEEDS (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Eddie Wilkinson||10||55.5kg||101|
|4||6215x43x88||SHEWAN||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||17||55.5kg||101|
|5||3x25130x50||NORSQUI||Walter McShane||Chris Symons||2||54.5kg||99|
|6||1855121×07||RIALYA||Lloyd Kennewell||Dwayne Dunn||6||54.5kg||99|
|7||21115152×1||ZURELLA (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Craig Newitt||11||54kg||102|
|8||3x640x9331||CUBAN SUNDAY||Pat Carey||Michael Walker||15||54kg||98|
|9||1311410×70||SINGLE MINDED (NZ)||Graham Richardson||Darren Gauci||13||54kg||98|
|10||90x00021x2||EXCEPTIONALLY (NZ)||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Dean Yendall||18||54kg||97|
|11||52x4613x00||FOLDING GEAR (NZ)||Lee & Shannon Hope||Ben Melham||5||54kg||97|
|12||x3439x0113||STREETS AWAY (NZ)||Darren Weir||TBA||14||54kg||96|
|13||711163×034||SEA GALLEON||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Nicholas Hall||7||54kg||93|
|14||3242×50210||SILENT SURROUND||William Smart||Chad Schofield (a)||4||54kg||93|
|15||x0x040x820||BUDAI (GER)||David Hayes||TBA||12||54kg||92|
|16||1x235141x5||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Glen Boss||9||54kg||90|
|17e||322x1121x1||FRUEHLING (IRE)||Anthony Freedman||Vlad Duric||16||54kg||86|
|18e||00248×0075||PACINO||Clinton McDonald||Dean Holland||3||54kg||77|