This Saturday at Caulfield Racecourse a host of star Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival hopes will face off in the Rubiton Stakes 2015, the sprint showdown attracting 15 nominations.
Running as one of eight Group races on CF Orr Stakes Day on the weekend, the top-rated hope in this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) is the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Chautauqua.
The Encosta De Lago four-year-old won the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) last October before his Group 1 test at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Chautauqua running a brave second to Terravista in the Darley Classic.
All the autumn’s major sprints are now on the cards for the up-and-comer who resumes in the Rubiton, including the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
He currently leads early Newmarket Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au too paying $4.20 over Terravista ($4.80) and the fellow Hawkes-trained Deep Field ($5).
Last year’s Rubiton Stakes winner was Lankan Rupee who blitzed his rivals first-up by four lengths before going on to win three times in elite level company completing the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap, TJ Smith Stakes hat-trick.
This year’s $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) runs back at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 28, and could also be on the agenda for Chautauqua.
Also after the Rubiton Stakes – Oakleigh Plate double starting on Saturday is the Danny Bougoure-trained Oakleigh Girl.
The Snitzel filly won in black-type company in Brisbane in mid-December 2013 and was runner-up to Unencumbered in last year’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
She was sidelined until the autumn where she returned for two April runs, connections opting to skip the spring with an autumn focus on the Oakleigh Plate won by both her sire Snitzel (2006) and her dam Miss Kournikova (2001).
The next shortest-priced 2015 Newmarket Handicap nominee also entered for the Rubiton meanwhile is Eloping ($26).
Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison’s Choisir filly faces a tough first-up assignment against an older field of rivals, the three-year-old racing for the first time since her second in the Group 3 Red Roses (1100m) on Crown Oaks Day in November.
Winner of the Blue Sapphire last October, she trialled with a close second over 800m at Cranbourne on January 29 and connections have confirmed she’ll accept for the Rubiton Stakes and not the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) for which she’s also nominated for this weekend.
“We are very happy with her and she will go to the Rubiton Stakes, we are taking on the older horses,” co-trainer Peter Morgan told Racing Ahead on Tuesday morning.
Another promising type resuming in the Rubiton Stakes is four-year-old Northern Meteor mare Atmospherical who won back-to-back races to round out her spring including a Crown Oaks Day black-type on November 6.
Other notable Rubiton Stakes hopefuls include the Peter Moody-trained Flamberge, last year’s Australia Stakes winner Richie’s Vibe and Queensland mare Missy Longstocking coming off a Magic Millions Sprint third at the Gold Coast.
See below for the full Rubiton Stakes 2015 nominations and ballot, the final field and barriers due out on Wednesday morning.
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2015 Rubiton Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 14/02/2015
|1||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||1||52.5kg||92|
|2||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||2||57.5kg||110|
|3||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||3||57.5kg||101|
|4||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||4||57.5kg||98|
|5||MISSY LONGSTOCKING||Liam Birchley||5||55kg||94|
|6||OAKLEIGH GIRL||Danny J Bougoure||6||52kg||86|
|8||ESSAY RAIDER||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||8||57kg||95|
|10||AMAETHON||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||10||56kg||98|
|11||UNDER THE LOUVRE||Robert Smerdon||11||56kg||97|
|12||TAWTEEN||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||12||51kg||86|
|14||THE THIEF||Stephen Brown||14||56kg||89|