A Talented field of 27 has been nominated to line up for the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse this Saturday, with 2013 Caulfield Cup Champion Fawkner poised to make his first-up appearance in 2014.
Slowly building to the task over his successful spring preparation, Fawkner followed up a competitive third behind Happy Trails and Puissance De Lune in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) with a blistering final straight turn of foot to win the Caulfield Cup (2400m) by nearly one-and-a-half lengths over Dandino and Dear Demi.
With a long view towards the 2014 Melbourne Cup in November, trainer Robert Hickmott is yet to set a path in stone for the Reset gelding this preparation, but may elect to accept a position in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night first-up, rather than the Ajax Stakes.
Also included in nominations for the 2014 Ajax Stakes is talented miler Mouro.
Beginning his racing career with a win and a second in France, Mouro has been arguably the most consistent imported runner since debuting in Australia in October 2012, finishing outside the places on only two occasions in a total of 12 races.
Performing well over the autumn of 2013, Mouro was at his best in spring when following up a competitive second in the Roy Higgins and Wylie Dalziel Handicap (1400m) first-up with comfortable wins in the East Coast Plumbtec Sale Cup Open (1600m) and Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m).
Having returned to the track in 2014 with a strong victory over Mourinho and Fat Al in the Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) on March 1st, trainer Tony McEvoy is confident the talented Grand Slam entire will continue his consistent run of form in the Ajax Stakes.
Trainer Peter Moody is likely to be offered three good chances of success in the 2014 Ajax Stakes, having nominated Lidari, Strawberry Boy and High Esteem for this weekend’s Group 2.
Amassing seven wins and five places from his 18 race starts to date, talented import Lidari was disappointing when seventh in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) first-up on February 22nd, but quickly returned to form when strolling home to claim the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) last time out.
Strawberry Boy has been geared towards an appearance in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) this preparation but is yet to find top gear in 2014, having finished seventh in the TAB Rewards Stakes in his only start so far.
High Esteem finished well off the pace in last in the TAB Rewards Stakes most recently. Having claimed four wins and three places in fourteen starts to date, the four-year-old out of Park Esteem will be hoping for a favourable barrier draw on Wednesday, should he accept into the final field for the Ajax Stakes.
A final field and barrier draw of 20 runners for the 2014 Group 2 Ajax Stakes is scheduled for release on Wednesday morning.
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2014 Ajax Stakes Nominations
|1||ANGEL OF MERCY||Gerald Ryan||89|
|3||CANNY BALLAD||Guy Walter||80|
|4||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||98|
|5||DANCHAI (GB)||Chris Waller||93|
|6||DESERT WIZARD (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||75|
|7||DIAMETRIC (IRE)||Chris Waller||97|
|8||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||96|
|10||HIGH ESTEEM||Peter G Moody||92|
|12||LESS IS MORE (FR)||David Vandyke||97|
|13||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||104|
|14||LONGPORT||Danny J Bougoure||102|
|16||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||101|
|18||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||108|
|20||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||93|
|21||RIVA DE LAGO||Chris Waller||103|
|22||SCORPIO QUEEN||Les Kelly||91|
|23||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||103|
|24||STRAWBERRY BOY||Peter G Moody||99|
|25||SWEET AS BRO (NZ)||Leon Corstens||92|
|26||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||89|