Merion and Chivalry Set to Resume Rivalry at Sandown

24 three-year-olds were nominated for the Super Vobis 3YO Plate (1300m), running at Sandown Racecourse this Saturday, including some promising sprint-mile runners from the spring.

Merion (inside) and Chivalry (outside) will race against each other for the third time at Sandown on Saturday.

Merion (inside) and Chivalry (outside) will race against each other for the third time at Sandown on Saturday. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

The Danny O’Brien-trained Bondeiger headlines the nominations after he finished runner-up to Preferment in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) last November. Finishing outside the first three just once in his six career starts, Bondeiger is set to resume his autumn carnival racing in the Super Vobis 3YO Plate along with 15 other horses.

Merion and Chivalry are both set to resume at Sandown on Saturday, setting up an intriguing rematch for the pair that met twice in the spring.

Michael Moroney’s Merion narrowly beat Chivalry home in the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m) after bobbing on the line but Chivalry finished ahead in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11, although neither finished in the first three.

Both three-year-olds also had jumpouts at Flemington on Friday, with Merion winning the fourth heat of the morning over 1200m and Chivalry narrowly winning his 800m trial.

“I was very happy with his jumpout and on that he should be fit enough to go to the races now,” Moroney said of Merion.

Chivalry’s trainer Mark Kavanagh was impressed with the galloper’s jumpout after he finished fifth in both the Caulfield Guineas and Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) at the end of spring.

“He’s furnished, he’s in much better order than he was in the spring,” Kavanagh told TVN.

The Vobis 3YO Plate will be just the beginning of an autumn rivalry between the pair with both set to progress to the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 before the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) two weeks later on March 7.

Darren Weir’s Stratum Star has finished in the first two in all five of his past starts and is another highly-rated nominee for the 3YO Plate. The colt won the Listed Yellowglen Vintage Stakes (1400m) and Listed Crown Lager Stakes (1400m) in October before finishing runner-up in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).

Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison’s Zebulon will look to atone when he resumes on Saturday after finishing last in both the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) and Caulfield Guineas.

The final field for the Super Vobie 3YO Plate will be released on Wednesday with both Merion and Chivalry expected to feature among the 16 runners plus four emergencies.

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