The final field for Sydney’s sole Group 1 this weekend, the 2013 Spring Champion Stakes, has now been released with a class collection of staying three-year-olds set to face off in the Royal Randwick feature.
Scheduled to steal the show at 4:02pm (AEST) as the sixth race on the card, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) has drawn 14 final acceptors.
The major Spring Champion Stakes contenders are heading towards a big grand final run on November 2 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the $1 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.
Early favourite for both the Spring Champion and the Victoria Derby 2013 is Savvy Nature, John O’Shea’s Savabeel gelding hitting the headlines with their Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) victory at Newcastle last month.
After their spring stakes success the lightly-raced galloper backed up at Rosehill on September 28 and was just a neck away second to Complacent in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m).
Beaten by a bad barrier that day (12 of 12), Savvy Nature is tipped to bounce back in the Spring Champion relishing the step up in distance.
Having been ridden by James McDonald for their two most recent runs, O’Shea booked Hall of Fame veteran Jim Cassidy for the Spring Champion ride with McDonald booked for Melbourne.
Despite McDonald’s major Melbourne mount It’s A Dundeel was ruled out of their weekend assignment in the Caulfield Stakes, Cassidy will stay on Savvy Nature in Sydney in his second ride on the youngster.
“James is already booked for (other) rides at Caulfield and Jimmy is already booked for Savvy Nature,” O’Shea told the Courier Mail.
“It won’t change.”
In fact the top three in the pre-field Victoria Derby betting markets are all facing off in the Spring Champion this weekend with Gloaming Stakes winner Complacent ($8.50) and the Anthony Cummings-trained Drago ($9.50) joining Savvy Nature.
Peter Snowden’s Authorized colt Complacent will be having just their fifth career start on Saturday as they shoot for their third on the trot.
They got the run of the race in the Gloaming after drawing the inside alley, and could be hard to hold out again this weekend after again being blessed with barrier one.
“Complacent should enjoy getting to 2000m,” Snowden said.
Drago meanwhile will jump from gate nine with Peter Robl riding, the Danehill Dancer colt having run third in the Gloaming Stakes in their first look at the 1800m since an emphatic four and a half length win in the Juvenile Stayer back in May.
They will be fitted with blinkers to help sharpen them up and run more on pace this weekend which Cummings is hoping will give them the winning edge.
Other top Victoria Derby-bound three-year-olds out to prove their potential in the Spring Champion on Saturday include Drago’s stablemate Thunder Fantasy on a seven day back-up after a luckless fifth in the Dulcify Quality over the Randwick mile last Saturday, the David Payne-trained Criterion coming off a second to Eurozone in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) and Hooked.
John Thompson’s son of Casino Prince Hooked has been just off them this prep with three fourth place finishes firstly to Aussies Love Sport in the Mind Dyansty at Randwick, then to Savvy Nature and Complacent in the Spring Stakes and Gloaming Stakes respectively.
They get a chance to finish closer this weekend however going up in distance and should get a lovely run from barrier three with Tim Bell riding.
See below for the complete Spring Champion Stakes 2013 field, barriers and jockeys.
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2013 Spring Champion Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 – 4:02pm (AEST) – 12/10/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x31166x002||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Brenton Avdulla||7||56.5kg||90|
|2||3722×46105||FUERZA||Bjorn Baker||Nathan Berry||12||56.5kg||73|
|3||5x224x3058||VILANOVA (NZ)||Chris Waller||–||10||56.5kg||74|
|4||12×312||SAVVY NATURE (NZ)||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||8||56.5kg||86|
|5||2211||COMPLACENT||Peter Snowden||Christian Reith||1||56.5kg||89|
|6||6441×293||DRAGO||Anthony Cummings||Peter Robl||9||56.5kg||81|
|7||11458×444||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Timothy Bell||3||56.5kg||73|
|8||03211||ROCK HERO||David Payne||Glyn Schofield||6||56.5kg||78|
|9||113×93||EQUATOR||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||13||56.5kg||80|
|10||222×3122||LIBERTY’S CHOICE||Gai Waterhouse||–||5||56.5kg||74|
|11||66×115||THUNDER FANTASY||Anthony Cummings||Jason Collett||11||56.5kg||68|
|12||7x51x609||FAST DRAGON||Bruce Wallace||Paul Taylor||14||56.5kg||69|
|13||2×5718||SHIKRA||Peter Snowden||Joshua Parr||2||56.5kg||62|
|14||2×331||MOUNTAIN VIEW (NZ)||John Sargent||Tim Clark||4||56.5kg||64|