A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
The 2014 Victoria Handicap is one of two Group 3 races at Caulfield on Saturday and drawn a capacity field of sixteen gallopers as well as four emergencies.
Carrying the top-weight in the 2014 edition of the Victoria Handicap is Mr O’Ceirin, who is returning to the races for the first time since he finished eleventh behind Fawkner in the 2013 Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 last year.
Mr O’Ceirin (barrier five) has not recorded a first-up victory since he won on debut in New Zealand and trainer Ciaron Maher is using the race as match practice for the Postponed gelding before he steps up to staying trips during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival
Team Hawkes-trained Mecir broke through for his maiden win at Group level with a fast-finishing effort in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) and will be chasing his first win in Melbourne in the Victoria Handicap on Saturday.
Mecir will jump from barrier three in the Group 3 event and will be ridden by jockey Dwayne Dunn, who rode a winner on his returning to racing at Sandown this afternoon.
Another horse taking winning form into the 2014 Victoria Handicap is Paul Richards-trained Natuzzi.
Natuzzi (barrier ten) has performed consistently at the highest level of racing in New Zealand and made his Australian racing debut with a strong win over Couldn’t Agreemore and Nearest To Pin in the Pink Ribbon Cup (1200m) at Caulfield on April 12.
Sistine Demon has the opportunity to cap off his stellar preparation with a maiden win at Group level after trainer Andrew Noblet included the consistent gelding in the 2014 Victoria Handicap field.
Sistine Demon strung together an impressive winning streak of five straight victories during his summer campaign and suffered a narrow loss in the Listed Kilmore Cup (1600m) on February 23 before returning to winning form with a narrow win in the Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 8.
The son of Excites is making his debut at Group level and will have to overcome the poor barrier draw of gate 18 to add another win to his racing resume.
Smokin’ Joey (barrier 14) won the 2012 edition of the Victoria Handicap, when prepared by Anthony Freedman, and has the opportunity to join Jet Figher (1987 and 1988) and Debrief (2002 and 2003) as the only horses to win the race on multiple occasions.
The Encosta De Lago gelding returned to his best form during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing second behind Boban in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), but made a slow start to his autumn preparation before finishing third behind Spacecraft in the Macaulay Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on April 5.
Other key Victoria Handicap barrier draws include Peter Moody-trained Ready To Rip (barrier nine), tough gelding Adamantium (barrier 13), provincial galloper Bianmick (barrier 17) and the popular Tigerland (barrier 11).
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|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x61612100x||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Mark Zahra||5||58kg||105|
|2||0x2166x3x4||READY TO RIP||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||9||57.5kg||104|
|3||0x0120x803||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||Jamie Mott||14||56.5kg||102|
|4||13×2582011||NATUZZI (NZ)||Paul Richards||Chris Johnson||10||56kg||101|
|5||1x708x7102||ADAMANTIUM (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||13||55.5kg||100|
|6||850×161441||MECIR||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||3||55kg||99|
|7||x09x90346x||BIANMICK||Matt Laurie||Darren Gauci||17||54kg||97|
|8||43969740×6||HAWKS BAY||Neil Dyer||Dean Yendall||20||54kg||97|
|9||x241111121||SISTINE DEMON||Andrew Noblet||Ms Jamie Kah (a)||18||54kg||97|
|10||1111x6x093||HAPPY GALAXY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Todd Pannell||16||54kg||96|
|11||410×645326||REPARATIONS||Anthony Freedman||Daniel Moor||1||54kg||94|
|12||31×3513135||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||Chris Symons||4||54kg||93|
|13||1x06666x75||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||Steven King||8||54kg||90|
|14||5622110×14||ALMIGHTY BULLET||John Hyam||Jason Holder||19||54kg||89|
|15||x32356046x||GARUD (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Jake Noonan||7||54kg||88|
|16||121110×310||TIGERLAND (NZ)||Matt Laurie||Damian Lane||11||54kg||86|
|17e||x543138x62||GIG||Shawn Mathrick||Vlad Duric||2||54kg||85|
|18e||9×14254984||CHILE EXPRESS (NZ)||Robbie Griffiths||Dean Holland||6||54kg||82|
|19e||25x12213x1||ELWICK JACK||Greg Eurell||Darren Gauci||12||54kg||78|
|20e||4704130224||LONDON STRIPE (IRE)||Pat Carey||–||15||54kg||78|
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