This Saturday the action of the two-day Scone Cup Carnival will continue with a bumper day’s racing headlined by the Dark Jewel Classic 2014 where the John O’Shea-trained Aerobatics will shoot for back-to-back wins.
The five-year-old Exceed And Excel mare is one of 18 fillies and mares making up the nominations for this year’s $200,000 Group 3 Coolmore Dark Jewel Classic (1400m), which is the sole Group race on the program.
One of the top early chances looks to be the Darley-owned Aerobatics who was last seen winning the Group 3 Darley Crown (1300m) at Hawkesbury on May 3 in her maiden run for her new trainer.
It was her first win since a Caulfield Group 3 over 1200m back in October last year, and one O’Shea hopes has opened the flood gates as she goes up in distance on the weekend.
New private trainer for Darley taking over for Peter Snowden, O’Shea has also nominated for his two Redoute’s Choice four-year-olds Pleiades and Seaside.
Pleiades was going great guns including a second in the Group 3 Belle of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at Gosford in January before her eighth in the Hawkesbury Darley Crown.
Seaside meanwhile did two better in the race when sixth, defeated two and a half lengths on the back of a fourth to Five All in the Group 3 Tressady Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 1.
Also coming via a nice performance in the Darley Crown meanwhile are third and fourth placegetters Cosmic Endeavour and Miss Stellabelle both prepared by Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse.
Cosmic Endeavour was beaten only a length by the winner in the Crown last time out which came one run after her good two length victory in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 19.
She went up from 53kg in the Randwick race to 57kg at Hawkesbury and so did well to handle the extra kilos and still finish so close, the Northern Meteor filly also nominated for the $400,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m) on Saturday.
Dehere mare Miss Stellabelle meanwhile was also right up there in the finish last start improving on a luckless sixth in the Group 3 Wiggle Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm the run before.
She ran a close third to Dark Jewel Classic winner Arctic Flight in this race 12 months ago carrying 58kg and will be hoping for a more manageable weight for her second shot here on the weekend.
Coming via a nice run behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Sapphire Stakes is Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes winner Avoid Lighting for Les Bridge, the Blevic mare looking to turn the tables and return to winning form.
She relished a Heavy (8) track at Rosehill for her Group 3 win two back and again proved her mudlark status in a Randwick trial last Friday winning over 1050m in the mud meaning she’ll be a top chance if the rain comes this weekend.
Other notable Dark Jewel Classic hopes include Tamworth Cup third placed I’m In The Money, Rodney Northam’s locally-trained Belle Of The Turf winner Myamira and last start Randwick winner Two Blue.
The full Dark Jewel Classic 2014 nominations are detailed below.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view all the Scone race fields out on Wednesday.
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2014 Dark Jewel Classic Nominations
Scone Racecourse – 17/05/2014
|3||AVOID LIGHTNING||Les Bridge||101|
|4||CHATHAM HOUSE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||75|
|5||COSMIC ENDEAVOUR||Gai Waterhouse||101|
|6||GOLD EPONA||Kris Lees||76|
|7||GRAND DAUGHTER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||76|
|8||I’M IN THE MONEY||Jeff Englebrecht||80|
|10||LUCKY NEWS||Kristen Buchanan||68|
|11||MISS STELLABELLE||Gai Waterhouse||97|
|13||OH MY PAPA||Greg Bennett||73|
|16||SHE’S CLEAN||Chris Waller||102|
|17||SWEET TALKIN WOMAN||Kris Lees||73|
|18||TWO BLUE||Kristen Buchanan||86|