After only attracting 10 entries at nomination stage on Monday, this weekend’s 2013 Kensington Stakes has now lost at least two more runners with both Shanghai Warrior and Excelorada to miss the race.
The sole black type of the weekend in Victoria, the $120,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m) will have a maximum field size of just eight sprinters this year.
One of the most promising chances in the ‘straight six’ showdown at Flemington Racecourse was the Neville Parnham-trained Perth star Excelorada who would have been vying for their fourth win on the trot.
The consistent Exceed And Excel gelding has won their past three starts with back-to-back December wins followed by a New Year’s Day victory all over the 1000m at Ascot back in WA, the last two at Listed level.
While Parnham still plans to bring the last start Summer Scorcher champ over to Melbourne for the summer – autumn features, their interstate debut has been delayed with the Kensington taken off the cards due to the muggy weather conditions in Victoria.
“I was all set to go that way but I’m just not 100 percent happy with going this week,” Parnham said.
“There are some very hot days and very humid days forecast so I just preferred to hang on to him here for another week or so.”
Excelorada is now likely to have their first run in Melbourne on February 2 at Caulfield in the $120,000 Listed WJ Adams Stakes (1000m), but Parnham is ruling out the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) back at the track a fortnight later.
“There’s the Adams and then the (Group 3) Rubiton the week after or something like that,” Parnham said.
“I don’t think he is to the Oakleigh Plate quality of horse, to be honest.
“I was just looking at a couple of the minor races in Melbourne because there is just nothing in Perth for him until July.
“He’s a five-year-old gelding so I just thought I’d give him a crack at Melbourne races and see if he is up to it.”
Another Kensington Stakes nominee that will not be accepted for when the final field is released on Wednesday is then the Pat Hyland-trained Shanghai Warrior.
The Elvstroem four-year-old, winner of the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington last August, hasn’t raced since two disappointing September runs in Melbourne.
After their Group 3 triumph they failed to back up when a distant 16th to We’re Gonna Rock in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) as one of the top fancies.
Shanghai Warrior also bummed out last start (September 30) when dead last behind Peter Moody’s Moment Of Change in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), the galloper found to have been suffering from a virus.
While they are ready to get back to race conditions Shanghai Warrior will be saved for a more suitable first-up run in two weeks’ time to kick off an autumn preparation targeting the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20.
“I didn’t have any doubt he was a Group One horse when he came into work last spring,” former ace jockey Hyland, 71, said.
“And I still don’t.
“He just took a bit longer than I would have liked to recover after I worked him today (Tuesday).
“There was nothing wrong with his work, he’s just not quite as forward as I wanted.
“But there’s no problem, there are plenty of races.
“And with a horse as good as him, you’ve got to look after them.”
If something goes amiss in the autumn and Shanghai Warrior misses out on the 2013 Doncaster Mile where they would get in well with the weights Hyland’s Plan B is for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival a little later in the year.
“There’s a few races up there that would suit him,” he said.
“With the ability I know this horse has there’s there’s plenty of choices.”
While it will be diminutive in size the Kensington Stakes 2013 field is still sure to feature a number of classy types well worth a look in at the bookies including the defending champ First Command and Rick Hore-Lacy’s former Hong Kong hero Good Ba Ba.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the Flemington races this weekend.
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