Thirteen runners have been nominated to take a position in this weekend’s Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse, undoubtedly highlighted by the likely return to racing of the world’s leading sprinter, Lankan Rupee.
Contesting an outstanding record of nine race wins and three minor places from just 16 competitive starts so far, Lankan Rupee was unable to string together much of a consistent run of form until being gelded at the conclusion of his 2013 autumn preparation, and has since claimed seven wins and one minor from eight starts.
Returning to racing this year with a near four length victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 8th, the son of Redoute’s Choice more than stamped his claims for Horse of the Year honours when claiming all of the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) back-to-back.
Confirmed to target the major open sprint events of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, both trainer Mick Price and regular jockey Craig Newitt have been pleased with the from displayed by Lankan Rupee since returning to work and are understandably confident of first-up success in the McEwen Stakes.
Also nominated for a racing return in the 2014 McEwen Stake is classy mare Anatina.
Finishing outside the places just twice in her nine career starts to date, Anatina performed well over the 2013 Spring Carnival, winning each of her first two starts including the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1000m) before finishing second in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) most notably on October 12th.
Strolling home to beat a talented field which included the likes of Gregers and Hard Stride in the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1100m) on March 8th, the Fastnet Rock mare displayed a keen turn of foot to finish a close second to Tiger Tees in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) most recently on March 29th.
Nominated for just his sixth competitive start and first this time in in the 2014 McEwen Stakes, trainer Trent Busuttin has been pleased with the building form of Cauthen in the lead-up to his spring racing return.
Winning his debut race abroad in his native New Zealand on July 3rd last year, the Darci Brahma entire finished second in a minor event over 1000m at Moonee Valley upon arriving in Australia before securing an impressive win in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m); beat a field which included subsequent Cox Plate champion Shamus Award and Caulfield Guineas champion Long John.
Confirmed to target the 2014 edition of the Cox Plate this time in, Busuttin is confident Cauthen is the McEwen Stakes nominee capable of overcoming Lankan Rupee.
A notable performer over major two-year-old events through autumn, trainers Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison have nominated Eloping for a return to the track in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes.
Winning each of her first two racing starts including the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) on January 25th, Eloping quickly stamped her claims as one to watch through 2014 when finishing second to standout filly Earthquake in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 8th and fourth in the Listed Sports 1000 (1000m) on March 1st.
Continuing to impress with a credible performance for seventh in the major Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5th, the Choisir filly ended her maiden campaign in winning the Group 3 Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m) and finishing fourth in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) on May 10th.
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 McEwen Stakes is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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2014 McEwen Stakes Nominations
|2||ANGELIC LIGHT||Robbie Griffiths||93|
|3||ANGELS BEACH||Peter G Moody||96|
|4||CAUTHEN (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||82|
|5||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||88|
|6||I’M ALL THE TALK||Gary Portelli||88|
|7||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||100|
|8||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||118|
|10||OUR NKWAZI||Shawn Mathrick||90|
|13||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||99|