Robbie Laing’s smart sprinter Lord Of The Sky returns to racing in the 2014 Doveton Stakes in Melbourne this weekend shooting for his first win since the winter.
A diminutive field of only nine runners is accepted for this Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m), the sprint showdown running as the Emma Booth Christmas Cup.
To wear the number one saddlecloth with the 60kg top weight is Laing’s Danerich stallion Lord Of The Sky, the four-year-old racing for the first time since a fourth to Our Nkwazi over the distance at Moonee Valley on August 2.
That was the second time he was defeated as the odds-on favouite on the trot following an earlier fourth to Thiamandi in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 26.
Before that he posted back-to-back Caulfield wins, most notably over Le Bonsir when the four and a half length winner in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) on July 5.
It is that form the Cranbourne-based Laing is hoping the up-and-comer can replicate first-up in the Doveton Stakes, Lord Of The Sky drawn in barrier five with Vlad Duric to ride.
He may have the big weight to carry but he has won four of his seven starts over the distance and was most impressive in a gallop at the track on Tuesday.
“He ran home his last 600m in 33.5 with his ears pricked,” Laing told the Herald Sun.
“Vlad couldn’t believe the time and I must admit I didn’t think he was running that sort of time because he did it so easily.
“But that is what he is like when he is on song — he just runs super time without any apparent effort.
“He looks magnificent and has really enjoyed the spell during the spring. I think this is his time to shine.”
Lord Of The Sky is joined in the Doveton Stakes field by stable mate Mr Make Believe in barrier seven for Craig Williams, the out-of-form Commands eight-year-old looking to improve on some poor recent spring form including a last start ninth at Moonee Valley on November 29.
Also resuming in the Doveton Stakes this year are the likes of the Robert Smerdon-trained Go The Knuckle (barrier four) and The Monstar in the outside barrier.
Elvstroem six-year-old Go The Knuckle won first-up at Moonee Valley over 955m in February and was competitive in two other black type runs during the autumn including a second in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1200m) back in March but hasn’t raced since.
The Monstar represents Albury horseman Brett Cavanough, the California Dane four-year-old set to be suited to the Sandown track that he races over for the first time here.
Other notable hopes in the mix include the Stephen Brown-trained nine-year-old warhorse Eight Bills drawn well in barrier two and Written Tycoon gelding Danger Close for Jason Warren on the rails with Craig Newitt to ride on the 54kg minimum.
See below for the full Doveton Stakes / Christmas Cup 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Doveton Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Sandown Race 6 (3:55pm AEDT) – 06/12/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||110x21144x||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Vlad Duric||5||60kg||100|
|2||108×467366||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||8||59kg||98|
|3||80302x142x||GO THE KNUCKLE||Robert Smerdon||Nicholas Hall||4||58kg||96|
|4||0x54x11x15||EIGHT BILLS||Stephen Brown||Dean Yendall||2||56kg||92|
|5||09x4465x89||MR MAKE BELIEVE||Robbie Laing||Craig Williams||7||55.5kg||91|
|6||12531118×3||DANGER CLOSE||Jason Warren||Craig Newitt||1||54kg||80|
|7||271012138x||THE MONSTAR||Brett Cavanough||Dwayne Dunn||9||54kg||76|
|8||21129×9315||TANSY||Byron Cozamanis||Steven King||6||54kg||75|
|9||111x36x||CROONER||Kane Harris||Daniel Stackhouse||3||54kg||71|