Following the non-nomination of Belmont Sprint – Hyperion Stakes double winner Elite Belle who has been sent to the paddock, the 2014 Strickland Stakes final field is a pretty open affair.
The Belmont Carnival races this winter have been dominated by Grant Williams’ Canny Lad mare Elite Belle who is now 2014 Railway Stakes bound this November.
Her absence then from the $125,000 Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m) at Belmont Racecourse this weekend has opened it up for those who have been racing for second behind her over the past few weeks.
Elite Belle’s connections Sandra and Bob Peters are represented on Saturday by Ranger who has suffered a blow drawing the outside barrier in the nine-horse field.
They will be ridden by William Pike who replaces Peter Hall.
Pike had a previous association with Elite Belle but jumps aboard Adam Durrant’s Testa Rossa seven-year-old for this.
Ranger was fifth in the Belmont Sprint two back but then in an improved effort came within a long neck of their former stable mate Elite Belle in the Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m).
Improvement is expected again her as they go up to the 2000m, a distance they haven’t seen since their sixth behind Kincaple on the back of a Hyperion Stakes third last year.
Third in the Hyperion this year was then Grand Nirvana, Fred Kersley’s veteran Scenic eight-year-old looking a different horse to the one who ran eighth in the Belmont Sprint before that.
They also race in the Strickland Stakes with apprentice Chris Parnham staying on, the duo drawing the inside alley.
There are then two last start winners in the field including Kersley’s other runner Operational.
Drawn in barrier four with Mitchell Pateman to ride, the in-form Tiger Hill five-year-old is up in class here but deserving of their shot at stakes success.
The gelding has run top three in their past five runs, including their 2200m win at this track over Fancy Feet last Saturday.
They’re on the short back-up but are in top form and look prime for the distance.
The other galloper looking to string consecutive wins together is then the William Godecke-trained Woodsville to be ridden by Jarrad Noske from barrier five.
The Blackfriars five-year-old won a 0-68 handicap over 2100m here from barrier 12 of 12 on June 11 and so should appreciate the distance as they too get a class test here.
Other notable hopes then include Shane Quilty’s four-year-old mare Fancy Feet (barrier two) and the Greg Kersley-trained Belmont Sprint – Hyperion Stakes fourth placegetter When We Were Kings (barrier six).
See below for the full Strickland Stakes 2014 field, barriers and jockeys.
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2014 Strickland Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Belmont Race 5 (2:30pm) – 28/06/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||8x5406x983||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||Chris Parnham (a)||1||59kg|
|2||36x430x552||RANGER||Adam Durrant||William Pike||9||59kg|
|3||19x00495x6||BRIDGESTONE (NZ)||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||8||59kg|
|4||6620422231||OPERATIONAL||Fred Kersley||Mitchell Pateman (a)||4||59kg|
|5||x72215x625||KALAHAAR||Steve Wolfe||Shaun Mc Gruddy||3||59kg|
|6||12488×2244||WHEN WE WERE KINGS||Greg Kersley||Shaun O’Donnell||6||59kg|
|7||4x480x7630||RED BLAST||Daniel Morton||Willie White||7||59kg|
|8||578×153431||WOODSVILLE||William Godecke||Jarrad Noske||5||59kg|
|9||x1128x4142||FANCY FEET||Shane Quilty||Brad Parnham||2||57kg|