Nominations were taken for the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on Monday morning. The race is one of two feature races this Saturday, capping off a brilliant week of racing at Flemington Racecourse.
23 horses were nominated to tackle the mile this weekend, including the Mick Burles-trained The Cleaner.
The seven-year-old gelding has had an illustrious racing career, but has yet to win at the highest level of racing. This year alone The Cleaner has finished top two in nine of his 11 starts, however he delivered his most disappointing result last time out.
The Cleaner began his spring racing campaign with wins in both the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m), which earned him a place in the field for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) – his first test at Group One level.
The notorious race leader had to work hard to get over from gate 14 and find the front but he did it at 600m. He got going with 700m to go after pouring the pressure on. Still boxing on into the straight he was simple outclassed. The Cleaner finished in ninth place but was just 3½ off the winner.
Now that his connections know what it takes to win a Group One race, will he be more of a threat in the 2014 Emirates Stakes?
There are a number of other strong runners featured among the nominations, including Natalie McCall’s River Lad and Colin Scott’s Speediness.
River Lad had a fantastic Brisbane Winter Racing campaign, winning both the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m). However the gelding has been less impressive this season.
The seven-year-old has had just two starts this campaign, missing out on a placing in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) before finishing end of the field in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m).
Speediness has been up and down this season, just missing out on a placing in both the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m). He ran a shocking race in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) on September 28 but turned it around for a runner-up finish in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) over the same distance as the Emirates Stakes.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig have nominated three runners for the race, including British import Stipulate. The Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) winner has had a bad run of late including last time out in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in which he finished 12th. Despite the finish he was not far off the winner (just 4 lengths) but was never a contender.
Hooked (Crystal Mile), Contributer (Group 3 David Jones Cup), and Lucky Hussler (Moonga Stakes) are all last start winners featured among the nominations while Hucklebuck, winner of the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) on Saturday is set to back-up just one week later.
Check out the complete list of 2014 Emirates Stakes nominations below with the final field of 16 due to be released on Wednesday.
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2014 Emirates Stakes Nominations
|2||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||104|
|3||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||101|
|4||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||104|
|5||DESERT JEUNEY||Nigel Blackiston||101|
|7||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||95|
|9||HOOKED||John P Thompson||105|
|11||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||99|
|12||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||102|
|13||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||–|
|15||ORATOR (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||85|
|17||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||98|
|18||RIVER LAD||Natalie McCall||109|
|19||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||106|
|21||SPY DECODER (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||79|
|22||STIPULATE (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||104|
|23||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles||109|