Trainer Bjorn Baker is snug about the chances of...
Twelve months on from his biggest career success the now Paul Beshara-trained Richie’s Vibe is in perfect condition to attempt successive wins in the 2015 Australia Stakes on Saturday in Melbourne.
Originally prepared in Adelaide by John Hyman, Danerich gelding Richie’s Vibe then moved to the care of Bryon Cozmanis and also spent time with Melbourne’s Tony Vasil during the spring – summer season of 2013-14.
Under Vasil’s care he raced in career best form winning a Listed Flemington sprint on Melbourne Cup Day in 2013 and racing competitively in a shot of other black-types before his $200,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) success at Moonee Valley Racecourse last January.
Ridden by Damien Oliver the horse beat home Peter Moody’s multiple Group 1 winner Moment Of Change by a neck before finishing off his campaign with two very ordinary runs.
After a six month break that followed a 15th to the world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, Richie’s Vibe ran first-up in August in the Group 3 Heath Stakes (1100m).
While he finished off ok after being under severe pressure around the bend, he could only manage to cross five and a half lengths away seventh behind the winner Flamberge in his debut run for the Morphettville-based Beshara.
A twisted fetlock ended his spring campaign after that one run, an injury Beshara is confident he has recovered fully from.
The horse will race again for the stable on the weekend then when defending his Australia Stakes title at the Valley, has been working well over the past few months and is ready to improve on his dismal form over the past year against an Australia Stakes field likely lacking the star quality of recent years.
“He’s had a few gallops and his trackwork has been good. He is best fresh and you don’t need to give him a trial or a jumpout to have him ready,” Beshara told the Herald Sun on Sunday.
“I don’t care about the potential rivals. He’ll be there to win again.”
Black Caviar (2012 & 2010) won the race twice while other notable Australia Stakes winners include Lucky Secret (2009), El Segundo (2007) and Super Elegant (2005).
This year however the reigning champ is likely to get an easier class of rivals with the current sprint stars of the racing scene – Lankan Rupee, Buffering, Terravista, Chautauqua, Deep Field and Rich Enuff – all non-runners.
Last year’s winning hoop Oliver retains the ride on Richie’s Vibe who travels to Victoria from South Australia this week hoping to take advantage of a line-up lacking in depth as trainers save the better horses for the long sprint season ahead including Melbourne’s $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 14 and Sydney’s $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 4.
Of the major players Richie’s Vibe is likely to come up against is Moody’s multiple Group 1 winner Dissident, the four-year-old to race first-up since suffering a bleeding attack in October.
The Sebring stallion will resume in either Saturday’s Australia Stakes or the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 14 at Caulfield.
Other possible Australia Stakes nominations include the Robbie Griffiths-trained last start winner at the track It Is Written and perhaps too his stablemate The Quarterback after his third win on the trot.
After being scratched from an assignment last weekend, Lee and Anthony Freedman’s Group 3 Standish Handicap third placegetter Reparations is another being considered for the Australia Stakes on the weekend.
Stay tuned for the official 2015 Australia Stakes nominations to be released shortly.
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