A field full of Emirates Stakes-bound gallopers will face off at Moonee Valley this Saturday on Cox Plate Day including Toydini in the Crystal Mile 2013.
Often used as a key lead-up to the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the first week of November, this year’s $220,000 weight-for-age Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) has drawn 16 nominations.
One of the top-rated of those is the Guy Walter-trained Bernardini four-year-old Toydini who was last seen running a very close third to Boban and Streama in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 5.
Beaten under half a length in the Epsom, Toydini races in Melbourne for the first time this weekend in their Emirates trial where they should be well suited to the WFA conditions.
“He has come through the Epsom well and his target has always been the Emirates,” Walter said this week.
Also coming off some cracking Group 1 form is the Colin Scott-trained Testa Rossa gelding Speediness.
Winner of the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) first-up at Flemington in September, the six-year-old then went to the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield where they ran half a length away fourth to Rebel Dane.
Last start they finished fourth again in another elite level, this time from gate 16 of 17 behind Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 12.
Third placegetter in the Toorak, Yangery-based Black Minnaloushe gelding Blackie, is also set for a run in the Crystal Mile on Saturday.
Other in-form gallopers among the Crystal Mile nominations include last start winners Rain Drum and Zonza.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Rain Drum, a son of Fastnet Rock, was a first-up Rosehill winner in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) on September 28, form they are hoping to bring to Melbourne.
Zonza meanwhile will be vying for their third on the trot, Roger James’ Zabeel mare last seen taking out the Group 3 mile race at Caulfield on Thousand Guineas Day last Wednesday.
Some of the more experienced in the field then include the Chris Waller-trained Doncaster Mile champ Sacred Falls last seen running eighth in the Epsom, 2011 Cox Plate third placed Rekindled Interest and local hope Second Effort.
See below for the full Crystal Mile 2013 nominations, with the final field and barrier draw due for release on Wednesday.
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2013 Crystal Mile Nominations
Moonee Valley Racecourse – 26/10/2013
|1||BEL THOR||Wez Hunter||80|
|2||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||103|
|3||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||107|
|4||LORD OF BRAZIL (NZ)||Darren Weir||102|
|6||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||100|
|7||MUTUAL TRUST (GB)||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||99|
|8||RAIN DRUM||Gai Waterhouse||95|
|9||REKINDLED INTEREST||Jim Conlan||108|
|10||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||111|
|11||SECOND EFFORT||Clinton McDonald||104|
|12||SHEER TALENT||Mark Kavanagh||88|
|15||TRANSPORTER||John P Thompson||96|
|16||ZONZA (NZ)||Roger James||97|