One time Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune returns to racing after a lengthy spell ready to defend their title in the PB Lawrence Stakes 2014 at Caulfield Racecourse on the weekend.
Darren Weir’s Shamardal grey makes their six-year-old debut this weekend, one of 16 gallopers nominated for the $200,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on Saturday and likely Ladbrokes.com.au favourite.
The French import won a string of nice races at the end of 2012 and then again in mid-2013 to enter calculations for last year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) including their first-up victory in the Lawrence Stakes.
Narrow runner-up in two subsequent Group 1s including behind Happy Trails in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, the stallion failed to fire in the Cox Plate when 12th pulling up lame post-race with a tendon injury and subsequently sent to the paddock.
They’re back firing and ready to return this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival however starting on Saturday after being nominated for all the majors.
While the same hype surrounding last year is missing, Weir admits there’s still plenty of pressure on Puissance De Lune this weekend when they return after surgery as that elusive Group 1 win beckons this spring.
“Expectation is still pretty high because he needs to win a Group One race for his stallion career,” Weir told AAP.
“That’s our goal.”
While the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 25 and before that the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) remain options, Weir said their main aim this time was the $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13.
“He will run in the Memsie next and then the Makybe Diva third-up,” Weir said.
“It’s a different approach because we are training him like a miler. Not a two miler.”
There are plenty of other Group 1 types in the PB Lawrence Stakes nominations again this year too including last start Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes winner over 1200m here on July 26 Thiamandi.
Lloyd Kennewell’s visiting Adelaide-trained Street Boss mare made it three straight wins and back-to-back Caulfield victories when she defeated a decent field by a minimum two lengths.
She backs up on Saturday then looking to add to her nice record of two wins and three starts at Caulfield.
Bletchingly Stakes runner-up Gig is also nominated for the Lawrence, Shawn Mathrick’s Commands mare a Group 1 performer in Brisbane during the winter.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller has also nominated a livewire Lawrence chance this year in Foreteller.
Another imported French stayer, the now seven-year-old Dansili gelding is a dual Group 1 winner down under most recently in last year’s Makbye Diva Stakes second-up at Flemington.
Their 2013 spring also included a second to Atlantic Jewel in the Caulfield Stakes and a close fourth behind then three-year-old Shamus Award in the Cox Plate before they failed to see out the two miles when 17th in the Melbourne Cup.
Foreteller’s autumn was also full of merit, highlighted by their third to Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente in the Australian Cup, but ended poorly when last in The BMW when injured.
Dominating the PB Lawrence Stakes nominations numbers-wise meanwhile is a Peter Moody-trained trio with 2012 Queensland Derby winner Brambles looking to regain their best form, former Luca Cumani-trained mare Kitten On The Run who shoed plenty of promise in the autumn and winter, and Group 2 Blamey Stakes winner Lidari.
See below for the full PB Lawrence Stakes 2014 nominations, the final field and barrier draw set for release on Wednesday.
Ready for access to the weekend’s hottest markets? Then visit Ladbrokes.com.au and join up today following the prompts to have your first deposit matched as a bonus bet valued up to $250!
2014 P.B. Lawrence Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 16/08/2014
|1||BRAMBLES (NZ)||Peter G Moody||101|
|2||DESERT JEUNEY||Nigel Blackiston||92|
|3||EXCLUDED (NZ)||Byron Cozamanis||97|
|4||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||112|
|6||KINCAPLE (NZ)||Mark Webb||101|
|7||KITTEN ON THE RUN (USA)||Peter G Moody||93|
|8||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||99|
|9||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||103|
|11||MR MAKE BELIEVE||Robbie Laing||94|
|12||PUISSANCE DE LUNE (IRE)||Darren Weir||111|
|13||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||99|
|14||STAR ROLLING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||100|