Trainer Ciaron Maher is looking to step his...
The 2015 Doncaster Mile weights for this autumn’s weight-for-age feature in Sydney may not be topped by Hong Kong Mile hero Able Friend according to Racing NSW’s Chief Handicapper.
Damien Hay said this week that the John Moore-trained Shamardal gelding Able Friend could be given a bit of weight relief, possibly less than 58kg, if he were to travel down under for a shot at the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 4.
Boasting a current rating of 134 the concerns from owner Dr Cornel Li Fook Kwan are there regarding what weight the five-year-old would be asked to carry in the Doncaster Mile, which is being considered as a possible aim for the dual Group 1 champion.
A winner of eight of his 14 career starts, Able Friend has finished out of the money just once and was last seen storming home from a wide draw for an easy four and a half length win over Gold-Fun in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 14.
Aboard for that incredible success was ‘The Magic Man’, Brazilian-born Joao Moreira who was so impressed with the horse’s win he declared Able Friend the best horse he had ever ridden.
The galloper is now a chance to be declared the highest rated Hong Kong-trained horse of all time with a World Thoroughbred Ranking (WTR) of between 126 or 127 when the latest are released on January 20.
That predicted elevation in the WTRs would also see him rise to joint second in the world behind only the Japanese-trained Just A Way last seen running fourth to Gentildonna in the Arima Kinen on December 28.
While these are certainly incredible achievements for Able Friend, Hay believes the Chris Waller-trained Sacred Falls is more deserving of the Doncaster Mile top weight in 2015.
“There wouldn’t be too much between them but on early thoughts I’d have Sacred Falls above Able Friend in the weights,” Hay said this week.
O’Reilly stallion Sacred Falls hasn’t raced since a disappointing 11th to Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) where the five-year-old simply didn’t run out the 2040m at Moonee Valley.
He however is also a four-time Group 1 winner including having saluted in back-to-back Doncaster Miles in 2013 and 2014 carrying 53kg and 56.5kg to victory respectively.
“Sacred Falls is a four-time Group I winner and he’s won the last two Doncasters,” Hay added.
“Able Friend is a dual Group I winner and has performed extremely well on the world stage but he hasn’t won under handicap conditions.
“So at this early stage I don’t think I could have him above Sacred Falls but he would certainly be up at the top of the weights.
“But Sacred Falls may not even run so it’s all going to come down to nominations.”
Also being considered for top weight honours by Hay is the Peter Moody-trained Dissident, the four-year-old Sebring stallion a triple Group 1 winner from 17 career runs to date.
The Doncaster Mile minimum weight will remain at 50kg for 2015 after being introduced last autumn.
“(That will give the handicappers) a bit more depth to work with,” Hay said.
2015 Doncaster Mile nominations close on February 9 and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
Our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au will be opening their futures markets shortly after so make sure you’ve got an account with them ready to go for a supercharged autumn of racing!
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