David Hayes & Tom Daberning will saddle-up the top-rated hope in the H.D.F. McNeil Stakes 2014 field at Caulfield on Saturday with smart colt Zululand second-up for the season.
There are 13 three-year-olds in the mix for this year’s $150,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m), due to jump as Memsie Stakes Day Race 6 at 3:25pm.
Drawn well in gate three with Stephen Baster to ride is Fastnet Rock colt Zululand, winner of the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington during the autumn.
Runner-up behind Go Indy Go in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) in his last run of that campaign in Sydney, Zululand returned at Caulfield a fortnight ago running fifth behind Get The Nod in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) with improvement expected second-up over more distance.
Likely favourite for the McNeil Stakes on Saturday however and drawn one inside of Zululand is then the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Nostradamus.
Due to be ridden by Dwyane Dunn the son of Medaglia D’Oro boasts two wins from four starts following his first-up Sydney win at Rosehill a fortnight ago over Washington Heights in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m).
Like many of his fellow HDF McNeil Stakes competitors Nostradamus is earmarked for a possible return to Caulfield on October 11 for a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Futures Caulfield Guineas odds are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au and the Hawkes-trained galloper pays $17 to win in markets led by Almalad ($9) who runs in Sydney’s Group 3 The Run To The Rose on Saturday.
Group 1 JJ Atkins winner Almalad is also the $6 co-favourite to win the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens next month, Nostradamus at $8 to win the September 11 feature.
Team Hawkes have also accepted for Forgive And Forget in the HDF McNeil for the weekend, the Tale Of The Cat gelding out to improve on an eighth behind Nordic Empire at Moonee Valley at the start of the month.
Along with Nostradamus there are two other last start winners in Saturday’s race with the Mick Price-trained Moonovermanhattan and Peter Moody’s Tan Tat Diamond – both undefeated going into the McNeil.
Drawn on the rails with barrier one and Daniel Moor to ride, Price’s Manhattan Rain colt Moonovermanhattan faces an acid test here having just his second career start.
He debuted in Adelaide back on May 10 to win the Group 3 National Stakes (1200m) in the mud but will need to improve to challenge here.
Tan Tat Diamond meanwhile has won both of his career starts to date, most recently over 1200m at Flemington on July 19.
Along with Moonovermanhattan local horseman Price is very well represented with three other runners, two of which are Group 1 placed at the track.
Cornrow and Jabali ran third and second respectively behind Earthquake in the Blue Diamond Stakes here back in February but ran below par first-up in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at the track on August 16.
Duporth colt Cornrow, also third to Peggy Jean in the autumn’s Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, ran ninth in the Vain Stakes beaten over five lengths while Exceed And Excel colt Jabali was a little better in sixth.
Nordic Empire is the fourth final acceptor for Price, Nicholas Hall to ride the son of Wilander form barrier six as the recent Moonee Valley winner looks to improve on a Vain Stakes fourth when showing up his stablemates.
See below for the full H.D.F. McNeil Stakes 2014 field, barriers and jockeys.
Then to back your favourite three-year-olds this Saturday and at their generous futures prices for the upcoming Group 1s, visit Ladbrokes.com.au where you will also get money back up to $50 as a bonus bet in the Memsie Stakes this Saturday if your horse runs second!
2014 HDF McNeil Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 6 (3:25pm) – 30/08/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2x49152x5||ZULULAND||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Stephen Baster||3||58.5kg||86|
|2||4122054×33||BOOMWAA||Robbie Laing||Craig Williams||9||58kg||74|
|3||147×1||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||2||57.5kg||80|
|4||1x||MOONOVERMANHATTAN||Mick Price||Daniel Moor||1||57.5kg||75|
|5||11||TAN TAT DIAMOND||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||8||57.5kg||69|
|6||3x253303x9||CORNROW||Mick Price||Brad Rawiller||5||56kg||80|
|7||2x2270x6||JABALI||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||13||56kg||82|
|8||13×14||NORDIC EMPIRE||Mick Price||Nicholas Hall||6||56kg||73|
|9||2138x||CHIVALRY||Mark Kavanagh||Glen Boss||12||56kg||70|
|10||42x8116x22||STINGRAY||John Moloney||Patrick Moloney (a)||10||56kg||73|
|11||7129x||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Damien Oliver||11||56kg||70|
|12||1×8||FORGIVE AND FORGET||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||7||56kg||68|
|13||11×3||NOVEL DANCER||Shea Eden||Vlad Duric||4||54kg||70|