Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Plans to head to WA for the Group 1 race this weekend may have been abandoned but connections of smart four-year-old galloper Galah are hopeful they can still bag some black type this weekend when they kick off a Sydney Summer Carnival campaign in the 2012 Festival Stakes at Rosehill.
The Peter Snowden-trained Redoute’s Choice four-year-old hasn’t won a race since the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes down the Flemington mile on Derby Day last year but will be out to break the drought this summer.
During the spring Galah had three runs, the most recent of which was a devastatingly close second when defeated by a short half-head in another mile race at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
Originally the plan for the Darley-owned stallion was to travel west to Perth for the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes, however they failed to make the field for the classic.
Instead the horse’s prep was altered to target a summer double in their home state starting with Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
Set to jump one of the top fancies in the handicap clash Galah is drawn ideally in gate three with Kerrin McEvoy to ride them on the 54kg minimum making them an excellent chance.
McEvoy was given the choice between two Snowden-trained hopefuls in the Festival with the stable also represented by Commands mare Classics who vies for her third win on the trot – he chose Galah.
“It was pretty close between him and Classics who was a good last start winner,” McEvoy said.
“They are all in good shape and there’s not much between them.”
His decision was ultimately based on not the Festival but the next goal for Galah who, if all goes right on the weekend, will back up in the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on December 22.
“I just feel he (Galah) is going to be our main chance in a race like the Villiers,” McEvoy explained.
“He’s a colt that’s up to winning the Villiers Stakes, that’s for sure, and hopefully I can be on him.
“Pete (Snowden) has freshened him up and he’s doing really well at home.
“He’s travelled back up to Sydney nicely and he’s drawn a nice alley for Saturday.
“He’s going to go on to the Villiers but he’s forward enough in condition to say he’s going to run well this week.”
Along with Galah the other top chances in the Festival Stakes for this weekend include Matthew Smith’s last start stakes winning mare Cabernet in gate four, Snitzel four-year-old Malavio last seen running fourth to fellow Festival rival Darci Be Good in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup, and the 59kg top-weight Monton who won the Festival – Villiers Stakes double 12 months ago.
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