While definitely better suited to 1400m – 1600m races the connections of Saturday’s clear Australia Stakes 2015 favourite at Moonee Valley Dissident believe the sprint distance is a non-issue for the galloper first-up this time in.
Four-year-old Sebring stallion Dissident has been in the paddock since October 11 when he bled during his sixth place finish in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) incurring the automatic three month ban.
His form pre-bleeding attack was red hot however.
He won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) first-up at Caulfield by an easy two lengths then scored another elite level with a narrow victory over Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
His other run of the spring was a second when a nose off Trust In A Gust in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) when stepped down in distance off the mile in the Makybe Diva.
Dissident also won a Group 1 as a three-year-old last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival hanging on to beat El Roca by a nostril flare in the Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Definitely no stranger to elite level racing having been there since his third career start when seventh in the Blue Diamond, and also having run second to Zoustar in the 2013 Golden Rose as a juvenile, Dissident has more Group 1s planned this autumn.
Trainer Peter Moody is looking at a run in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield at the end of February and the Futurity Stakes two weeks later at the same track and distance.
But first he’ll be out to show he’s come through his enforced ban well and is back to his old self in the $200,000 Group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley this Australia Day long weekend.
The weight-for-age clash has attracted a below par number and class of competitors compared to other years with only eight left in the mix after a colic attack ruled out the Paul Beshara-trained defending champ Richie’s Vibe.
As a triple Group 1 winner against such a small field Dissident is obviously the one to beat and pays $1.80 through Ladbrokes.com.au in the Australia Stakes odds to do so.
Ben Melham has the mount as Dissident races at Moonee Valley for the first time.
The horse is yet to win over 1200m but his first-up record is imposing (4-2-2-0) and he is also a triple runner-up over the distance from four starts.
Moody’s racing manager Jeff O’Connor is hoping he can break his 1200m maiden then in this race lacking in depth.
“He doesn’t have to have 1400m first-up, he’s a sprinter/miler and all his 1200m runs have been pretty good,” O’Connor told Racing Victoria.
“He only resumed at 1400m last preparation because of the wet start to spring in Sydney so we delayed his first-up run because we knew that we had a suitable option coming up in Melbourne.
“All his runs over 1200m have been very good. His run in the Blue Diamond was great. He resumed in the Rosebud as a three-year-old where he was only beaten a length and he ran second behind El Roca first-up as in the autumn as a three-year-old in the Eskimo Prince on a slow track.”
O’Connor also said Dissident should have had more than just the three Group 1s on his record.
“You can actually go through every beaten run of his and make a genuine case for why he was beaten on each day,” he said.
“He’s not Black Caviar who could just overcome everything. There have been genuine excuses for why he was beaten in nearly every race, whether it be bad luck or slow tracks or when he bled in the Caulfield Stakes.”
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