The Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) is the feature race running this long weekend. Nominations for the Moonee Valley Racecourse feature were declared on Monday morning with ten sprinters set to tackle the race.
Leading the charge is Peter Moody’s three-time Group One winner Dissident. The four-year-old horse enjoyed plenty of success during the spring, winning the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) first up on August 30 by two and a half lengths as well as the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Dissident missed out on the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) by just a bob of the head next time out on September 28 before finishing midfield in the Group 2 Caulfield Stakes (2000m). The horse bled for the first time in the race which led to a three-month ban and an early end to his spring campaign.
Moody could deliver a dual-pronged attack on the 2015 Australia Stakes after also nominating Moment Of Change.
The six-year-old gelding finished runner-up in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at the beginning of the spring but finished outside the placings in all four following starts, including the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth.
He will aim to go one better after finishing second in last year’s race but will need to beat home defending champion Richie’s Vibe.
The Paul Beshara-trained gelding will defend his Australia Stakes crown after taking out the race last year. However the five-year-old gelding has one had three starts since then, all of which he finished end of the field in.
Wez Hunter’s trained Smokin’ Joey also travelled to Perth following a lackluster spring campaign but finished just outside the placings in both the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Robbie Laing’s four-year-old horse Lord Of The Sky is set to back up from Saturday’s Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) if he accepts in Wednesday’s final field.
The horse came off back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) but failed to impress at Flemington, finishing seventh of twelve runners.
Laing has also nominated Audino for the Australia Stakes. The six-year-old gelding won three consecutive Benchmark races at the end of last year but misfired in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) on January 10 – his first black-type race.
Check out the complete list of nominations for the 2015 Australia Stakes below, which have been extended until 11:00am Tuesday morning (AEDT).
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2015 Australia Stakes Nominations
|2||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||97|
|4||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||115|
|5||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||99|
|6||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||99|
|7||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||110|
|8||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||100|
|9||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||106|