They may be forced to carry a nasty 60.5kg in the Morphettville black type but Esprit De Bullet is still the horse to beat in Saturday’s City Of Marion Stakes 2013 according to their trainer John Hyam.
Hyman gained confidence his rising nine-year-old could make it a dozen wins this weekend in the $80,000 Listed City Of Marion Stakes (1200m) after they were allocated the inside alley in the capacity 20 starter field.
There will be only 19 runners at this stage however due to the early withdrawal of the Stephen Theodore-trained Don’t Get Excited after they were allocated the extreme outside barrier.
A consistent Bel Esprit gelding, Esprit De Bullet has been in career best form this season despite their age.
They’ve had two runs this prep most recently carrying 59kg to victory over Vatican, a top chance in the Listed Doveton Stakes at Caulfield this weekend, in a Moonee Valley handicap over 1000m from November 23.
Saturday sees them give away a minimum three kilos to their rivals but still Hyam believes they have the stakes win in them.
“He’s come through (the Moonee Valley run) really well,” Hyam said on the radio on Tuesday morning.
“His gallop this morning was probably the best he’s done all preparation and he’s really on song for this race.
“It’s one we’ve been targeting with him, I’m really confident going into it.
“He’s been penalised a fair bit for his win over at Moonee Valley but I still think he’s going well enough.”
If all goes well Esprit De Bullet could be set for a Group 1 assignment next year targeting the $500,000 Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide on May 10.
“We may freshen him and set him for the Goodwood,” Hyam said.
Esprit De Bullet will be joined in Saturday’s race by stablemate Petman (barrier eight) who is Melbourne-bound on Boxing Day for the $120,000 Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
“He’ll go to the Christmas,” Hyam said of the Lonhro five-year-old who resumed with a fifth to Dashitude at the track on November 2.
“I was a bit disappointed with his first-up run.
“We trialled him on the Monday and raced him on the Saturday and I just don’t think he coped with it that well.
“But he’s back to his normal self and galloping strong … He’ll run a good race (on Saturday).”
Following Esprit De Bullet in the City Of Marion Stakes weights on 57.5kg is then the Richard Jolly-trained Golden Penny out wide in barrier 15.
The Blevic mare enjoyed a stakes win at the track in October winning the Durbridge Stakes before her good last start effort at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day when fifth to Plucky Belle in a Group 3 over 1400m.
There are then a number of other last start winners in the race along with the top weight including the resuming Action Again (barrier five).
The Michael O’Leary-trained mare hasn’t raced since August but before the break they won four straight including two at Darwin.
Others coming off a turf triumph include Byron Cozamanis’ five-year-old Ventic in barrier two after their third straight after a win in the wet at Ballarat on November 24, and Phillip Stokes’ local Elvstroem gelding Pull No Punches out wide in barrier 17.
Other notable hopes include the in-form Addiction To Rock for Will Clarken, Dash For Cash mare Dashitude, Whitlam and four-year-old Impulse Buy coming off a nice third to Esprit De Bullet at Moonee Valley.
The complete City Of Marion Stakes 2013 field, barriers, weights and jockey allocations are all detailed below.
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2013 City Of Marion Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Morphettville Race 7 – 4:25pm (AEST) – 07/12/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||6098211×61||ESPRIT DE BULLET (NZ)||John Hyam||Jason Holder||1||60.5kg||102|
|2||9047×31015||GOLDEN PENNY||Richard Jolly||Simon Price||15||57.5kg||100|
|3||1x1211x11x||ACTION AGAIN||Michael O’Leary||Matthew Neilson||5||57kg||95|
|4||215×067123||ADDICTION TO ROCK||Will Clarken||Todd Pannell||11||55kg||91|
|5||60x3132x26||DUBAWI GOLD||Stuart Gower||Ms Desiree Stra (a)||9||54.5kg||90|
|6||234×182011||VENTIC||Byron Cozamanis||Justin Potter||2||54.5kg||90|
|7||10x17735x5||PETMAN||John Hyam||Troy Baker||8||54kg||87|
|8||635454×530||DASH FOR VIZ||Robbie Griffiths||Dom Tourneur||18||54kg||87|
|9||2x6022147x||LIONHEARTED GIRL||Ned Walker||Jake Toeroek (a)||6||54kg||87|
|10||518687×219||DASHITUDE||Chris Bieg||Ms Amy Herrmann||14||54kg||86|
|11||16×5330632||WHITLAM||Danielle Wilson||Ms Lauren Stojakovic||10||54kg||86|
|12||12226112×3||IMPULSE BUY||Gordon Richards||–||12||54kg||85|
|13||1234×31428||DIRE WARNING||Stuart Gower||Ben Hoppo||19||54kg||85|
|14||6477×25171||ESSAY RAIDER||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Ms Clare Lindop||4||54kg||84|
|15||x2x111145x||DON’T GET EXCITED||Stephen Theodore||–||20||54kg||84|
|16||22511112×7||SPARTAN EAGLE||Bob Richard||Ms Libby Hopwood||7||54kg||84|
|17||3214×21231||PULL NO PUNCHES||Phillip Stokes||Ms Jamie Kah (a)||17||54kg||83|
|18||8x1126186x||EXTRACEED||Greg Connor||Ms Kacie Connor (a)||3||54kg||81|
|19||3256179×34||EL PRADO GOLD||David & Ryan Balfour||Adrian Patterson||13||54kg||81|
|20||481312×114||MANGO MOJITO||Jarrod Mclean||–||16||54kg||77|