The feature race in Melbourne this weekend has drawn a diminutive field with just six hopefuls accepted for the Kensington Stakes 2013, four less than the 10 at nomination stage on Monday.
Running as Flemington Race 3 at 2:10pm (AEST) this year’s $120,000 Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) may have only half a dozen runners but there’s still plenty of class in those six sprinters.
To wear the number one saddle cloth is equal 59kg top-weight and defending Kensington Stakes winner First Command.
Drawn in gate three with Glen Boss to ride the Anthony Freedman-trained Commands seven-year-old won this race 12 months ago carrying 58kg from gate 10 (of 10) and looks on track for a successful title defense after their first-up victory at Caulfield with 60kg on January 5.
Also coming off a last-start win is Gordon Richard’s Bel Esprit five-year-old Belfast Boy (barrier five) who won over the 1000m at Flemington on New Year’s Day, the gelding to appreciate the drop back from 59kg there to 56kg on Saturday.
The other horse that will carry 59kg in the Kensington along with First Command is then Rocking Force who will get the inside run with Luke Currie aboard from barrier one.
The veteran Oamaru Force eight-year-old hasn’t won a race since a Listed sprint at this track and distance back on Crown Oaks Day of 2011 but looked good when resuming with a second to First Command at Caulfield.
An intriguing addition to the Kensington Stakes field is then Rick Hore-Lacy’s former Hong Kong champion Good Ba Ba (gate four – Craig Newitt) having just their second run down under.
A seven time Group 1 champion overseas during their heyday, the now 11-year-old Lear Fan gelding came out of retirement and kicked off a new career in Australia on New Year’s Day when a credible fourth in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
The 1000m is likely to be too short for them second-up but they will relish the drop back from 60.5kg to 56kg and the small field after jumping from barrier 15 of 16 in the Standish.
Rounding out the Kensington Stakes field 2013 are then the Wayne Nichols-trained Diplomatic Force, another Oamaru Force eight-year-old like Rocking Force, who will be out to improve on their seventh to Undeniably in the X’Mas Stakes on Boxing Day and Michael Hibbs’ Fastnet Rock mare Light Express.
Check out the full Kensington Stakes field, barriers, jockeys and weights in the table below.
2013 Kensington Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 3 – 2:10pm (AEST) – 19/01/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||312420x0x1||FIRST COMMAND||Anthony Freedman||Glen Boss||3||59kg||104|
|2||x7532x00x2||ROCKING FORCE||Mandy Shillito||Luke Currie||1||59kg||95|
|3||8x880670x4||GOOD BA BA (USA)||Rick Hore-Lacy||Craig Newitt||4||56kg||111|
|4||84172x6x27||DIPLOMATIC FORCE||Wayne Nichols||Craig Robertson||2||56kg||96|
|5||3534202471||BELFAST BOY||Gordon Richards||Dwayne Dunn||5||56kg||84|
|6||317x11187x||LIGHT EXPRESS||Michael Hibbs||Vlad Duric||6||54kg||81|