This Thursday the major metro Anzac Day race meeting will be conducted at Victoria’s famous Flemington Racecourse with a double shot of black type action on the cards including the VRC St Leger 2013.
Scheduled to run as Flemington Race 6 at 3:56pm (AEST) the $150,000 Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) has this year drawn a final field of 13 three-year-olds, the race having uncovered a talented stayer or two over recent years.
To wear the number on saddle cloth and jump the likely favourite is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hippopus who has drawn the inside barrier with Craig Williams to ride.
The promising High Chaparral colt enjoyed back-to-back wins at Canterbury earlier this campaign before going to Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day and running a good second to Philippi in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m).
Bred to stay they stepped up to the mile and a half and Group 1 company seven days later for the Australian Derby but could only manage to finish eight and a half lengths away fifth behind the runaway winner It’s A Dundeel.
Thursday Hippopus gets their chance at a consolation stakes win with the galloper sure to appreciate the drop back in class for the VRC St Leger as they head towards the Warrnambool Racing Carnival in May.
“I was going to run Hippopus in the Frank Packer Plate (at Randwick on Saturday), but I thought it might be a bit short and sharp for him,” she said.
“I was looking through the calendar, mainly for Warrnambool, when I saw the St Leger was on.
“It’s invariably a softish option, which it shouldn’t be because it’s a time-honoured race, but because of the distance and the fact it is for three-year-olds it tends to be bypassed.
“It would be a lovely stepping stone to Warrnambool if I could win it.”
If successful the horse will be handing Waterhouse with her maiden VRC St Leger trophy, a piece of silverware her great father Tommy Smith took home six times most famously with Tulloch in 1958.
“Hippopus is a very talented son of High Chaparral, who’s taking all before him in these staying races, and he’s a really free-flowing galloper who should be very hard to beat in the St Leger,” Waterhouse said.
“Craig Williams was desperate to ride him when he saw me at Randwick last Saturday.”
Waterhouse will also saddle-up an outside chance in Encosta De Lago colt King Of Olympia from barrier two who is out to improve on a disappointing 12th at Caulfield last Saturday.
“He’s superbly bred, he’s by Encosta de Lago, he’s a stayer and he’s got a great group of people in him,” Waterhouse said.
“I just thought this might be a chance of him showing that he really can stay.
“Hopefully we can run the quinella.”
The other big name player in the mix is then a stablemate to Australian Derby winner It’s A Dundeel, the fellow Murray Baker-trained Serpent (barrier eight).
The Chinese Dragon gelding, easy winner of the NZ St Leger over this distance two back, debuted down under when fifth in the Galilee Series Final at Flemington on April 13.
Thursday they will appreciate getting back to the 56kg under set weight conditions after carrying 58kg for their Australian debut, Serpent’s performance here to determine whether they go to Adelaide for the $500,000 Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) on May 5.
Other notable hopefuls then include recent Bendigo winner Kemtain, the David Hayes-trained Flying Spur filly Green Roller coming off a third in the Galilee and John Sadler’s consistent Choisir filly Wowee.
Check out the full 2013 VRC St Leger field, barriers, jockeys and weights in the table below.
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2013 VRC St Leger Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 6 – 3:56pm (AEST) – 25/04/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||214521125||HIPPOPUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Craig Williams||1||56kg||80|
|2||2051115||SERPENT (NZ)||Murray Baker||Brad Rawiller||8||56kg||73|
|3||5147×9390||KING OF OLYMPIA||Gai Waterhouse||Michael Rodd||2||56kg||67|
|4||09316||KEMTAIN||Clinton McDonald||Glen Boss||3||56kg||61|
|5||0275235064||CAPTAIN SMITH||Tom Hughes||Steven Arnold||7||56kg||55|
|6||0x24199||MASTER’S DEGREE||Steven Lake||Craig Robertson||12||56kg||60|
|7||655×234||MCNULTY||Michael Kent||Vlad Duric||6||56kg||61|
|8||63×4633||BEFITTING||Rick Hore-Lacy||Michael Walker||5||56kg||56|
|9||0x6448||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||James Winks||11||56kg||55|
|10||8×43||CHAPKIN||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Chris Symons||10||56kg||58|
|11||x6215126D3||GREEN ROLLER||David Hayes||Dwayne Dunn||4||54kg||70|
|12||35×153129||BESSANO||David Bourne||Craig Newitt||13||54kg||65|
|13||039×67112||WOWEE||John Sadler||Stephen Baster||9||54kg||60|