The Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) is the feature race running on the Australia Day long weekend, attracting a small yet classy field of nine sprinters.
A re-match of the first three in the 2014 edition of the race has been ruled out after Peter Moody chose not to accept with Moment Of Change – last year’s runner-up.
Moody will still be represented in the race by Dissident, who will jump from barrier seven with Ben Melham to ride.
The four-year-old horse is a three-time Group One winner and enjoyed his share of success during the spring. Dissident won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) first up on August 30 followed by the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m). He then missed out on the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) by just a nose to Trust In A Gust.
However Dissident received a three month ban after bleeding in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), which was used as an excuse for his sixth place finish.
Australia Stakes defending champion Richie’s Vibe will jump from barrier three, four more gates in than he won from last year, with Damien Oliver in the saddle once again.
The five-year-old gelding has been lightly raced since his win last January, finishing end of the field in all three starts including the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), and has been off the track since August last year – missing the spring and much of the summer.
Robbie Griffith’s It Is Written will vie to go two better than his third place finish last year as the gelding jumps from barrier six.
The Peter Gelagotis-trained Mourinho was a late nomination for the 2015 Australia Stakes after impressing in a jumpout on Monday morning, due to jump from barrier five with Vlad Duric. Gelagotis realised Saturday’s race was the perfect first-up race for the seven-year-old gelding considering he’ll have a light autumn, instead focusing on the spring.
Mourinho had the best campaign of his career during the spring, placing in the Group 2 Dato Chan Nim Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) as well as winning the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m). The gelding then made his Group One debut in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) where he ran a solid seventh of 14 horses.
Wez Hunter’s Smokin’ Joey has the potential to dominate the Australia Stakes after drawing barrier two with Chris Parnham to ride.
The seven-year-old gelding was luckless during the spring and finished fourth in both the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth during the summer.
The Jarrod McLean-trained Blackie will enjoy the inside run from barrier one with Chris Symons to ride.
Check out the full 2015 Australia Stakes field and barrier draw below.
Betting markets for the race will open at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly. Open your accounts now to receive up to $250 in a bonus match when quoting code: BETBONUS.
2015 Australia Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||1160x1126x||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||7||58.5kg||115|
|2||618×857744||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||Chris Parnham (a)||2||58.5kg||106|
|3||506x12317x||MOURINHO||Peter Gelagotis||Vlad Duric||5||58.5kg||106|
|4||8×46736671||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||6||58.5kg||99|
|5||21222213×3||HARD STRIDE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||8||58.5kg||97|
|6||50x24055x0||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||Chris Symons||1||58.5kg||97|
|7||5142170x7x||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||Damien Oliver||3||58.5kg||100|
|8||2532311189||AUDINO||Robbie Laing||Dwayne Dunn||9||58.5kg||80|
|9||x5318149x2||TUDOR||Doug Harrison||Craig Williams||4||55kg||73|