Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra’s last start stakes winner Hard Stride is among the top nominations taken for The Heath 2014 at Caulfield Racecourse this weekend.
One of four Group status races on the Memsie Stakes Day card in Melbourne on Saturday, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 The Heath 1100 Stakes (1100m) has attracted a bumper 23 nominations.
One of those is the Ellerton & Zahra-trained Hard Stride seeking back-to-back stakes wins following success in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at the track on August 16.
That was a commanding victory from the Street Sense four-year-old who never looked in doubt during his all-the-way win where they defeated multiple Group 1 champion Moment Of Change by two lengths.
Rival trainer Peter Moody lost the Regal Roller saddling up Moment Of Change, back this Saturday for a shot at the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m), but has a strong hand in The Heath nominations.
Moody has nominated for Exceed And Excel gelding Flamberge last seen winning the Group 3 St Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in April, Spirits Dance and his Redoute’s Choice mare A Time For Julia.
Statue Of Liberty mare Spirits Dance is set to return here as a four-year-old following a stellar summer season that resulted in four wins on the trot including three straight at Caulfield.
She was last seen securing a Group double at the track in February with victories in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes and the Group 3 Angus Armanasco Stakes defeating Marianne home in both.
A Time For Julia meanwhile won a Group 3 race at her last start at Caulfield and was competitive during the autumn at elite level when fourth to Steps In Time in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 22.
Her latest run was a seventh to Driefontein in Adelaide’s Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes when dropped back down in distance on April 26.
Shaping up as a nice type for a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on November 1, A Time For Julia is a dual nominee at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Heath 1100 is the likely back-up plan with Moody more likely to accept her for a run against her own kind in the $150,000 Group 3 W.W. Cockram Stakes (1200m), for which stablemate Spirits Dance is also nominated.
Also likely to bypass The Heath and run in the Cockram Stakes is top-rated Commands mare Commanding Jewel.
Leon & Troy Corstens’ five-year-old hasn’t raced since September last year when she defeated Catkins to win the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m).
A three-quarter sister to Atlantic Jewel, Commanding Jewel was at her peak in 2012 when winning the Thousand Guineas by three lengths, connections hoping her injury issues stay in the past and she can return to Group 1 winning form this time in.
She’s nominated for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney at the start of October and is also a $26 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on the 25th of that month.
Other notable The Heath nominees include Group 2 Australia Stakes winner Richie’s Vibe, the Darren Weir-trained Tattersall’s Tiara graduate Lonhrspresso and Ciaron Maher’s super consistent gelding Akavoroun who has won four of his five most recent runs.
Last year’s The Heath 1100 winner was the Mick Price-trained Samaready who went on to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) the next month.
Check out the complete The Heath 1100 nominations for this year below, the final field and barrier draw due out on Wednesday.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest spring race nominations and fields, and for the top odds on every horse in every race visit Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the generous $250 bonus sign-up bet offer!
2014 The Heath 1100 Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 30/08/2014
|1||COMMANDING JEWEL||Leon & Troy Corstens||1||57kg||107|
|2||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||2||58kg||102|
|3||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||3||56kg||102|
|4||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||4||58kg||101|
|5||SPIRITS DANCE||Peter G Moody||5||56kg||91|
|8||BRITISH GENERAL||Dan O’Sullivan||8||57.5kg||98|
|9||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||9||57kg||102|
|10||HARD STRIDE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||10||57kg||97|
|11||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||11||57kg||89|
|14||REAL SURREAL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||14||54kg||94|
|16||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||16||54kg||99|
|17||BIG BUDDIE||Andrew Sawden||17||56kg||83|
|19||COULDN’T AGREEMORE||Phillip Stokes||19||56kg||87|
|20||CALIFORNIA STORM||Clinton McDonald||20||54kg||80|
|21||TYCOON EXPRESS||Simon Vercoe||21||56kg||67|
|22||SMACKDOWN (NZ)||Andrew Benyan||22||56kg||78|