A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Co-trainer Peter Morgan is confident an eight and a half weight advantage will see his smart young filly Eloping give hot favourite Lankan Rupee something to beat in Saturday’s McEwen Stakes 2014 at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
There were 14 gallopers nominated for the weight-for-age feature on the weekend including triple Group 1 champ Lankan Rupee set to make his return in the $200,000 Group 2 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m).
Under the WFA conditions the world’s top rated sprinter will be forced to carry 58.5kg in the McEwen with the Mick Price-trained Redoute’s Choice gelding racing for the first time since his two length TJ Smith Stakes win in the wet at Randwick on April 12.
The lightweight of the entries then with only 50kg is three-year-old filly Eloping prepared by Morgan and training partner Craig Widdison.
She too is first-up here having last raced on May 10 at Doomben when fourth behind the Chris Waller-trained Brazed Beau in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m).
Since then she’s had the one official Cranbourne trial over 800m on August 19 that she won on a Heavy (8) course, a hit-out that brought her along nicely for Saturday’s tough assignment at Moonee Valley.
A gun at the distance with two wins from three starts, Eloping is yet to race at Moonee Valley and how she handles the tight circuit will be crucial.
She had a gallop at the track on Tuesday morning with Morgan speaking from the course saying he hoped Lankan Rupee would be vulnerable first-up so his filly could strike.
“I don’t know whether he’s back to how he was or not,” Morgan said.
“(Eloping’s) got nothing on her back… catch us (if you can).”
Eloping worked over 800m with Linda Meech aboard running 56.33 seconds with the final 400m sprint done in 24.94 seconds on a wet track.
“She’s still got a bit of a coat on her, but she hasn’t changed since she was winning during the autumn,” Morgan said of the filly.
“Everything’s in good order with her. (I’ll be happy) as long as we can run a place for her pedigree.”
Other stand-out McEwen Stakes entries then include William Reid Stakes third placegetter Unpretentious, the Godolphin-owned three-year-old Exceed And Excel colt Orujo and New Zealand visitor Cauthen who won at the track around this time last year.
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