She may not have won a race in 12 months but trainer Mick Price is confident his Group 1 winner Samaready can show up and be competitive first up in Saturday’s 2014 How Now Stakes at Caulfield.
One of three Group races on the Underwood Stakes Day card in Melbourne on the weekend, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Sportingbet Sprint Series Heat 2 Stakes (1200m) – formerly the How Now Stakes – features a top field of 13 mares.
Wearing the number one saddlecloth in barrier five with Damien Oliver to ride is Price’s More Than Ready five-year-old Samaready who races for the first time since a disappointing ninth behind Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
That was her fourth loss on the trot since winning the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) by four lengths at Moonee Valley late last September and an effort Price hopes she can improve on when kicking off her new season campaign in the How Now.
“She is fit, ready to go and ready to run well,” he told TVN this morning.
“Damien rode her this morning on the course proper and she has had a couple of nice trials.
“She can be a finicky thing, she has to have her runs spaced and I need to be a bit careful with her.
“You will see her in the mounting yard, she is a beautiful mare, she is well muscled and really bright in herself.
“That is all we can do.”
Another Group 1 winner first-up in the mares’ only clash is the Darren Weir-trained May’s Dream.
The New Approach four-year-old was last seen winning the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) in Adelaide back in April, and based on her stats she’ll take improvement from Saturday’s race.
From three first-up runs May’s Dream has finished third twice but she is undefeated second-up with three victories from as many starts making her next run the one to really get behind her in.
Also returning to racing here are the likes of Enquare for Jason McLachlan on the rails with Craig Newitt riding and the Robert Smerdon-trained Politeness who was last seen winning the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) in Sydney in April.
Smerdon has also accepted for Shamal Wind in barrier four, the daughter of Dubawi coming off a first-up fourth behind Iconic in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley last month.
Peter Moody is also represented by multiple hopes in the How Now Stakes field this year saddling up Spirits Dance (barrier six) and A Time For Julia (barrier nine) who are both second-up on Saturday, as well as his in-form but widely drawn hope Brilliant Bisc (barrier 13).
Chad Schofield’s mount Spirits Dance won a string of races back in the summer including the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) here to give her a three from four record at Caulfield.
She’s looking to improve then on her resuming run when seventh, beaten three and a half lengths by Atlante in the Listed Chandler McLeod Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley two weeks back.
Stable mate A Time For Julia then will have Luke Nolen aboard here following the Group winning daughter of Redoute’s Choice’s good second behind Gregers in the Group 3 W.W. Cockram Stakes (1200m) at this track on August 30.
She’s got a great record over the 1200m at Caulfield too with a win and two seconds from four starts, and second-up she’s always competitive too with two seconds and a third from three runs two back from a spell.
Moody’s third How Now hope is then Brilliant Bisc in the outside barrier for Ben Melham who has won both her runs this time in, most recently over the 1000m at Sandown on September 3.
Also coming off nice recent form are the likes of the Gai Waterhouse-trained Cockram Stakes fourth placegetter Forever Loved and locally-trained four-year-old Jessy Belle who has won two of her past three starts.
See below for the full How Now Stakes 2014 field, barriers and jockeys with betting on all the day’s racing to open online at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly where punters will get paid Best Tote + 20% on the Underwood Stakes this weekend!
2014 How Now Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 8 (4:40pm) – 20/09/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||4x118x369x||SAMAREADY||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||5||59kg||110|
|2||1228x4131x||MAY’S DREAM||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||8||59kg||101|
|3||x63x1111x7||SPIRITS DANCE||Peter G Moody||Chad Schofield||6||58kg||91|
|4||50x12147x2||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||9||57kg||102|
|5||1x1113x70x||ENQUARE||Jason McLachlan||Craig Newitt||1||57kg||92|
|6||13737x621x||POLITENESS||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||7||57kg||92|
|7||262x1715x4||SHAMAL WIND||Robert Smerdon||Nicholas Hall||4||56kg||103|
|8||09x3782x11||BRILLIANT BISC||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||13||56kg||85|
|9||1311x428x7||REAL SURREAL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||11||55kg||93|
|10||11×2204121||JESSY BELLE||Luke Oliver||Chris Symons||2||55kg||83|
|11||x111020x55||DANESTROEM||Michael Kent||Tommy Berry||3||55kg||85|
|12||8x521034x4||FOREVER LOVED (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Vlad Duric||12||55kg||89|
|13||121113×1||GIRL GUIDE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Craig Williams||10||55kg||88|