The Team Hawkes-trained Gilgai Stakes winner Chautauqua is the headline first acceptor for the Darley Classic 2014 with the opening round of declarations taken by Racing Victoria today.
Held on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse on Emirates Stakes Day, Saturday November 8, this year’s $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) originally drew 60 nominations.
There are now only 25 sprinters in the mix with the best fancied in the updated Darley Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au being the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Encosta De Lago four-year-old Chautauqua.
Paying $2.80 as the clear favourite in the futures markets on the sprint showdown, the grey gelding has won his past two starts on the trot at Flemington making him unbeaten at the track and distance.
Two back he defeated Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and then on October 4 he won the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) by a commanding four lengths.
Gilgai Stakes runner-up Bounding is also among the Darley Classic first acceptances despite being beaten by such a margin last time out, the Lonhro mare having run second to Sidestep the start before in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) in Sydney.
A Group 1 winner back in New Zealand having taken out the Railway Stakes over 1200m on New Year’s Day, the Kiwi expat is a $21 outsider in Darley Classic betting.
Following Chautauqua in the markets meanwhile are four other single figure hopes, the next best fancied of which is Terravista ($5.50).
Joe Pride’s Captain Rio gelding, last seen winning the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) on September 20, boasts eight wins from 11 starts and while he is yet to race at Flemington the Sydney raider is undefeated in three wins over the Darley Classic distance.
Last year’s Darley Classic winner Buffering is also back to defend his title in the race this year, Rob Heathcote’s Queensland champion at a current quote of $9 to go back-to-back like the flawless Black Caviar did in 2010-11.
The now seven-year-old Mossman gelding has had just the one run this season when a first-up winner at Moonee Valley under the lights in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and he races again this Friday night in the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
Also coming via the Moir Stakes and running in the Manikato ahead of the Darley Classic are the likes of runner-up Lankan Rupee, third placegetter Rebel Dane and fourth past the post Angelic Light who beat Lankan Rupee the start before in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) in her third Moonee Valley win.
A host of other Darley Classic first acceptors in fact race in the the traditional lead-up of the Manikato Stakes this weekend including the Tony Gollan-trained Temple Of Boom last seen crossing fifth in the Gilgai Stakes and the Peter Moody-trained weight-for-age Caulfield Group 1 specialist from the autumn Moment Of Change.
Other noteworthy Darley Classic hopes still in the mix include Irish raider Slade Power last seen winning back-to-back Group 1s in the UK during their summer, the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Cluster, Schillaci Stakes champ from October 11 Rubick, Chris Waller’s Roman Consul Stakes winning three-year-old Brazen Beau and Blue Diamond winning filly Earthquake back in the winner’s stall last time out.
Notable non omissions meanwhile include the Team Hawkes-trained Deep Field, and the dead-heat Caulfield Sprint winners from last weekend Miracles Of Life and Bel Sprinter.
See below for the full Darley Classic 2014 first declarations with the final field due for release on Wednesday November 5.
Then to back your early selections for the race, and check out the other spring futures, visit Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million Spring Megapick promo!
2014 Darley Classic First Acceptances
Flemington Racecourse – 08/11/2014
|1||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||102|
|2||ANGELIC LIGHT||Robbie Griffiths||103|
|3||BOUNDING||Ken & Bev Kelso||105|
|4||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller||88|
|6||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|7||CLUSTER||Peter & Paul Snowden||101|
|10||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||90|
|11||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||108|
|12||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||91|
|15||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||118|
|16||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||111|
|17||NOT LISTENIN’TOME||Gary Moore||103|
|18||PERON||Peter G Moody||96|
|20||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||110|
|23||SLADE POWER (IRE)||Edward Lynam||114|
|24||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||108|