Having pulled up below par after his latest Rosehill win last time out Church Boy has been spelled and is the most notable omission from this Saturday’s Festival Stakes 2014 nominations in Sydney.
David Vandyke’s in-form four-year-old posted his fourth straight city win on November 15 in a Benchmark 80 over 1500m at Rosehill Gardens but won’t return to the track on the weekend for a shot at the $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
One of three features on the Rosehill race card for ATC Cup Day, this year’s Festival Stakes nominations feature 19 early entries and have been extended until 11am (AEDT) on Tuesday morning.
Missing from the possible line-up in the middle distance sprint, Church Boy won’t get a chance to prove his worth in better class this season going for a well-earned break before returning to target races like the Hawkesbury Cup and Scone Cup on stand-alone autumn meetings next year.
There are still a host of notable Festival Stakes nominations, the top rated of which is the Ron Quinton-trained Monton.
An eight-year-old son of Catbird, Monton continues to show a zest for racing despite his age and comes off three top two runs on the trot.
Two back he carried 58.5kg to victory in a 1500m Rosehill handicap over I’m Imposing and then went to Hawkesbury on November 6 and finished second behind Strawberry Boy in the Listed Ladies Day Plate (1400m).
Winner of that race, Redoute’s Choice gelding Strawberry Boy is another Festival Stakes nominee and is one of seven for the best represented trainer in the mix Chris Waller.
Four-time Sydney premiership winning horseman Waller has a stranglehold numbers wise in the Festival Stakes this year and Strawberry Boy is one of three last start winners in the race for him.
His other runners after back-to-back victories if accepted are Al Maher four-year-old Amovatio who won over the Randwick mile on November 8 and Heart Testa who defeated Mouro over 1350m at Rosehill on November 15.
Waller’s other entries are then Winter Cup runner-up from June over 2400m Hoylonny, I’m Imposing coming off a failed 14th in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) from Melbourne Cup week, Wyong Cup winner Multilateral and You’ll Never coming off a fourth to stable mate Heart Testa from a fortnight ago.
Along with Waller’s trio the other last start winner in the race is then the Steven O’dea-trained Sir Moments.
The Choisir four-year-old travels to Sydney from Brisbane after back-to-back wins following a second-up victory over 1400m at the Gold Coast on November 15.
Sir Moments had a gun winter carnival at home recoding wins in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) and Listed Daybreak Lover Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm and will be better for his two runs this season.
Other notable hopes coming off good recent form then include Group 3 winner Mouro for Tony McEvoy and the John O’Shea-trained Generalife coming off a string of runs in better company.
Winner of the Winter Stakes over 1400m here in July, Lonhro gelding Generalife has had four top four runs since earlier October.
His best efforts were a close third when under a length off subsequent Emirates Stakes winner Hucklebuck in the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Derby Day and his second behind Fast ‘n’ Rocking on November 15 at Sandown in the Group 3Heffernan Stakes (1300m) when only a nose off the win.
See below for the current Festival Stakes 2014 nominations, the final field due for release on Wednesday and published right here at Races.com.au.
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2014 Festival Stakes Nominations
Rosehill Gardens – 29/11/2014
|2||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||105|
|3||ESTONIAN PRINCESS||Scott Aspery||95|
|4||FULL HAND||Brian Cox||83|
|6||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||101|
|8||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||99|
|9||KEEP COOL (NZ)||Joseph Pride||91|
|10||MECIR||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||95|
|12||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||106|
|13||MULTILATERAL (USA)||Chris Waller||95|
|14||SCREAM MACHINE||Jason Coyle||100|
|15||SIR MOMENTS||Steven O’dea||100|
|16||SNEAK A PEEK (ITY)||Peter G Moody||100|
|18||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||103|
|19||YOU’LL NEVER||Chris Waller||90|