It is shaping-up as a huge year for Benjamin...
A select list of just nine sprinters has been nominated for Friday night’s Australia Stakes 2013 at Moonee Valley with entries now extended until Tuesday morning.
An initially disappointing response to this year’s $220,000 Group 2 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) has seen the Melbourne Racing Club extend nominations until 10am (AEST) on the 22nd, a race that was won first-up by the world’s best mare Black Caviar 12 months ago.
While the reigning Australia Stakes winner is not in the mix in 2013, last year’s runner-up Zedi Knight has been nominated again with the Brendan McCarthy-trained veteran looking to break a year-long losing streak.
The Zeditave eight-year-old hasn’t won a race since the X’Mas Stakes on Boxing Day of 2011 and they failed to defend their title first-up on the 26th this summer when finishing dead last in the Caulfield feature.
Australia Stakes nominees coming off much better runs then include three last-start winners.
The first of these is the Anthony Freedman-trained Commands seven-year-old First Command who is undefeated this time in after successfully scoring their second consecutive Kensington Stakes last Saturday.
It would be a tough ask for them to back-up in the Australia Stakes just six days later but Freedman has thrown in a nomination just in case.
The other last-start winners among the early entries are then Rod Grantley’s Dubleo mare Koonoomoo last seen winning the Group 3 Herald Sun Stakes (1400m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and the Mark Kavanagh-trained Undeniably.
Fastnet Rock six-year-old Undeniably has had two runs this time in improving on their first-up second to stablemate Catapulted in the Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) with a good win over Sea Lord in the Listed X’Mas Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
X’Mas Stakes runner-up Sea Lord is also set to back up in the Australia Stakes, the Stephen Brown-trained Street Cry gelding formerly prepared by David Payne in Sydney.
Other notable hopefuls then include the Peter Snowden-trained duo of Pinwheel last seen running a brave fourth to undefeated sprint star Barakey in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 24, and fellow Lonhro seven-year-old Skytrain who was only beaten a long neck last time out on New Year’s Day when third to No Looking Back in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
Check out the current 2013 Australia Stakes nominations in the table below with the final field and barriers due for release on Wednesday.
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2013 Australia Stakes Nominations
Moonee Valley Racecourse – 25/01/2013
|1||BONNIE MAC (NZ)||Michael Moroney||94|
|2||FIRST COMMAND||Anthony Freedman||105|
|4||OUTLANDISH LAD||Dennis O’Leary||104|
|6||SEA LORD||Stephen Brown||97|
|9||ZEDI KNIGHT||Brendan McCarthy||99|
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