Kyneton-based trainer Leon Corstens is hoping the rain stays away in Melbourne this week so his former Group 1 winner Zabeelionaire gets the chance to return to form on a dry track in the Gala Supreme Handicap 2013.
One of two $100,000 features on the Flemington program for Saturday, the Gala Supreme Handicap (2000m) attracted a bumper crop of 32 nominations this year with Zabeelionaire one of the top-rated entries.
The Zabeel four-year-old has been out of form this prep and is looking to atone for two horror runs during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Winner of the Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) in Adelaide last year, Zabeelionaire hasn’t seen the inside of a winners’ stall since.
Two back they travelled to Queensland but were outclassed when dead last in a field of 13 beaten seven lengths by the winner Beaten Up in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
Two weeks later they ran in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) but failed to beat home any of their five rivals when dead last again this time to Quintessential on a Slow (7) track.
They step right back in class this weekend for the Gala Supreme Handicap and Corstens is hoping the non-black-type status of the race as well as a firmer track work in his horse’s favour.
“I’m really happy with the horse but he’s a bit of a drought breaker,” Corstens said.
“The owners have sunk a fortune into the horse going to Queensland; we scratched him three times because of wet tracks so it was quite a costly trip.
“He’ll run on Saturday if everything goes right during the week and we don’t get a wet track.”
The other highly rated entries among the Gala Supreme Handicap nominations are then Exceptionally and the Robert Smerdon-trained The Cleaner.
Stawell-based Ekraar mare Exceptionally is second-up for the season after a disappointing resuming run over the Moonee Valley mile on June 29.
That was the rising seven-year-olds’ first run in seven months however with improvement expected as she warms up this winter.
Prior to her lengthy break Exceptionally was in top form during last year’s spring carnival including her third to Kelinni in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m), close second to Tanby in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) and her last start third to King Diamond in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Former Tassie-based stayer The Cleaner then has just their second start for Smerdon since coming over from Mick Burle’s in the Apple Isle.
After a first-up win at Flemington on June 22 the Hobart Cup runner-up failed in the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) back at the track two weeks later failing to handle the 60kg when 11th to Magnifique Soleil.
There are just two last-start winners in the mix meanwhile with Smerdon’s other entry Westsouthwest who won a 3300m hurdle at Casteron by a big margin (4.5 lengths) with a hefty weight (68kg) at the start of the month, and the Neil Walsh-trained four-year-old Zuma Roc who will be ridden by Craig Newitt.
Victoria’s head trainer Peter Moody meanwhile has nominated for four gallopers including Bel Esprit five-year-old Oregon Spirit who was second in the Swan Hill Cup two back and Show A Heart mare Dayita who was a brave fourth in the Winter Championship Final here on July 6.
Other notable hopes then include the Chris Waller-trained German import Illo formerly with Bart Cummings in Melbourne, recent Ipswich Cup champion Anagold, the Colin & Cindy Alderson-trained stayer Sea Galleon and Under The Hat looking to improve on their eighth in the Winter Championship Final.
See below for the full list of nominations with all the Flemington race fields for the weekend due for release on Wednesday.
In the meantime why not take two minutes to open your bookmaker.com.au account enjoying a bonus $500 sign-up bet when you do simply by depositing and quoting the code BONUSBET!
2013 Gala Supreme Handicap Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 20/07/2013
|3||BEWARE OF THESTORM||John McArthur||68|
|4||CONSTANT FORCE||Bill & Symon Wilde||89|
|5||DARK NOTE||Mark Houlahan||80|
|6||DAYITA||Peter G Moody||91|
|7||DIAMONDS AT NOON||Bill Cerchi||71|
|8||DONE NOTHIN’ WRONG||Chris Waller||80|
|9||EXCEPTIONALLY (NZ)||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||101|
|11||HANKS||Peter G Moody||91|
|12||ILLO (GER)||Chris Waller||95|
|13||LONDON STRIPE (IRE)||Pat Carey||74|
|15||OREGON SPIRIT||Peter G Moody||92|
|16||PICTURE EDITOR (GB)||Michael Moroney||74|
|17||POINT MADE (IRE)||Michael Moroney||65|
|19||SAVVY DANCER (NZ)||Michael Moroney||78|
|20||SEA GALLEON||Colin & Cindy Alderson||93|
|21||SEGURO (NZ)||Brian Jenkins||61|
|22||ST MARK (NZ)||Michael Kent||72|
|23||STORM BURST||Peter G Moody||89|
|24||STREAKY FELLA||Aaron Purcell||85|
|25||STREETS OF SEATTLE||John Moloney||84|
|26||SUPREMACY (NZ)||Russell Cameron||77|
|27||TANAH LOT (NZ)||Colin Little||75|
|28||THE CLEANER||Robert Smerdon||100|
|29||UNDER THE HAT||John Sadler||85|
|30||WESTSOUTHWEST (NZ)||Robert Smerdon||82|
|31||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||100|
|32||ZUMA ROC||Neil Walsh||81|