Just nine horses will tackle the mile this Saturday in the 2014 Crystal Mile after five nominated runners failed to declare for the race.
The Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) is one of six supporting races on Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley. The field looked to be full of quality runners when Trust In A Gust, He’s Your Man, and Lucky Hussler were all among the nominations on Monday.
However when the final field & barrier draw was released Wednesday morning, only Trust In A Gust remained.
The Darren Weir-trained horse has enjoyed a winning spring season with four wins and one second from his five starts, including back-to-back Group Ones from the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) and Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) last time out.
The horse has drawn wide again, set to jump from barrier seven with Brad Rawiller in the saddle. Starting wide doesn’t seem to be a disadvantage to Trust In A Gust however, having started wider than gate nine in his two Group One victories.
He will however carry a weight of 58.5kg, which is 6.5 kilos more than he rode with in the Rupert Clarke.
Trust In A Gust is a spectacular horse, having won ten of his 17 career starts and placing in a further five.
With his biggest competition for the Crystal Mile removed, this could be an easy victory for the four-year-old.
Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) winner He’s Your Man and Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) winner Lucky Hussler were both no-shows when the final field was announced, with no replacement start scheduled for either.
Trust In A Gust’s win isn’t guaranteed, there are still eight talented rivals he’ll need to beat home including Speediness.
The Colin Scott-trained gelding is hot on Trust In A Gust’s heels. He misfired in the Rupert Clarke – starting wide from gate 12 then putting too much work in at midfield – coming second-last before returning to successful form in the Toorak Handicap for a fast-finishing second.
He’ll get a good start from barrier four in the Crystal Mile, as he bids to get one-up over Darren Weir’s star.
Hooked is another leading entry, having won the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) last month before finishing third in the Epsom.
The four-year-old will enjoy the inside run after drawing barrier one with Craig Williams to ride.
Chris Waller’s Bull Point has had a successful spring season, with a win just eluding him. He was a fast finishing second in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) before finishing third in the Rupert Clarke. He finished midfield last time out in the Toorak, but ran well just one and a half lengths off Trust In a Gust. Perhaps a good jump from barrier two will help the horse take out his first win of the season.
Desert Jeuney rounds out the Toorak Handicap top three all heading to the Crystal Mile, drawing barrier three, while Gai Waterhouse will be represented by Liberty’s Choice.
Check out the 2014 Crystal Mile final field & barrier draw below to get your head around the race card.
Betting markets are due to open at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly, so open your betting account in preparation.
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2014 Crystal Mile Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x62720x402||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Nash Rawiller||4||59kg||108|
|2||1510x040x2||HAVANA REY||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Ms Linda Meech||6||59kg||102|
|3||x11211x674||AKAVOROUN||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||5||59kg||98|
|4||53458×5633||DESERT JEUNEY||Nigel Blackiston||James Winks||3||59kg||96|
|5||1262×12111||TRUST IN A GUST||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||7||58.5kg||110|
|6||85534×4713||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||1||58.5kg||102|
|7||x1407x3236||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||Ryan Moore||2||58.5kg||101|
|8||1x2608x180||ATLANTE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||8||58.5kg||101|
|9||947223×027||LIBERTY’S CHOICE||Gai Waterhouse||Damien Oliver||9||58.5kg||90|