Peter Moody’s returning Group 3 winner Flamberge heads a smart field of sprinters for The Heath 2014 at Caulfield Racecourse this weekend.
One of four Group status races on the Memsie Stakes Day program on Saturday, this year’s The Heath 1100 runs as the $150,000 Group 3 theshark.com.au Stakes (1100m) and is scheduled to jump at 2:45pm as Race 5.
There are 15 hopes in the mix including Moody’s Exceed And Excel five-year-old Flamberge.
The gelding has won six of his 17 starts to date including the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day and most recently the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1200m) in the set at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day in early April.
The Heath is a nice lead-up to the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival major sprints, the first of which is the $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
Flamberge is no stranger to elite level racing either having finished fifth behind the world’s highest-rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in both the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap during the autumn, form Moody hopes will hold this time in.
Also high up the ratings in The Heath this year is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Pago Rock out in barrier 11 with Stephen Baster to ride.
The Rock Of Gibraltar gelding makes his seven-year-old debut here having last been seen finishing eighth to Lonhspresso in the Listed Straight Six (1200m) in May.
Before that he ran a disappointing 14th to Smokin’ Joey in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide but is a specialist over the 1100m at Caulfield having won five of his six starts at the track and distance.
Straight Six winner Lonhspresso is also set to run first-up in The Heath on Saturday for Darren Weir, the Lonhro mare coming up trumps with the inside alley.
Following her black-type Flemington win on May 24 the now five-year-old was runner-up at Swan Hill before being outclassed when beating home just one runner to finish a distant 15th behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
A host of smart sprint types meanwhile already have runs behind them this season and come off some very nice form including the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Hard Stride.
The past seven starts for this Street Sense four-year-old have resulted in a top two finish including behind Pyrrolic in the Listed Creswick Stakes (1200m) back on July 12.
The latest run from the gelding meanwhile resulted in a black-type win at Caulfield on August 16 with Hard Stride beating home triple Group 1 winner Moment Of Change in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m).
That day he carried 54kg, eight kilos less than Moody’s beaten favourite that backs up in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes this weekend, and on Saturday the Regal Roller winner goes up to 54kg under the set weights plus penalties conditions of The Heath.
Also coming off wins are the Phillip Stokes-trained recent Flemington winner Couldn’t Agreemore and Glen Boss’s ride O’Malley after their third on the trot – both drawn wide in barriers 13 and 15 respectively.
Other notable hopes then include the Tony McEvoy-trained Hussonet gelding Rifleman third-up this prep and John Sadler’s exciting mare Vain Queen.
Top hoop Craig Williams guided Hard Stride to victory in the Regal Roller Stakes here a fortnight ago but jumps off the gelding in favour of a run with Vain Queen here.
A winner of six of her nine career starts the daughter of Artie Schiller has a nice first-up record of two wins from three runs and returns here having last run fourth behind Nearest To Pin in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) on July 12.
Check out the full The Heath, registered as 2014 theshark.com.au Stakes, field and barriers below.
Then for top odds on all the Melbourne races this weekend plus money back up to $50 as a bonus bet if your Memsie Stakes selection runs second at Caulfield, visit Ladbrokes.com.au!
2014 The Heath Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 5 (2:45pm) – 30/08/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||3x1515541x||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||2||58kg||102|
|2||245142170x||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||Michael Rodd||12||58kg||101|
|3||0560×98985||BROKEN||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||4||57.5kg||93|
|4||236x78217x||BRITISH GENERAL||Dan O’Sullivan||Ms Michelle Payne||14||57.5kg||98|
|5||4x4286108x||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Stephen Baster||11||57kg||102|
|6||2052122221||HARD STRIDE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||10||57kg||97|
|7||6666x7585x||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||Steven Arnold||7||57kg||89|
|8||20323x607x||UATE||Kane Harris||Daniel Stackhouse||5||56kg||88|
|9||x358x4120x||LONHSPRESSO||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||1||56kg||99|
|10||529621161x||BIG BUDDIE||Andrew Sawden||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||6||56kg||83|
|11||24x2690x12||RIFLEMAN||Tony McEvoy||Nicholas Hall||9||56kg||80|
|12||21x13520x1||COULDN’T AGREEMORE||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||13||56kg||87|
|13||2722360×35||SMACKDOWN (NZ)||Andrew Benyan||Jason Benbow||3||56kg||78|
|14||12211||O’MALLEY||Enver Jusufovic||Glen Boss||15||56kg||73|
|15||11x1x46114||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||Craig Williams||8||54kg||99|