Pat Hyland’s Myer Classic winner Bonaria leads the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes 2015 nominations for the mares-only showdown at Caulfield Racecourse this weekend.
Saturday sees a host of Group race autumn lead-ups take place on CF Orr Stakes Day including the $150,000 Group 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) for the older mares.
Redoute’s Choice six-year-old Bonaria is the headliner of the 18 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes nominations taken by Racing Victoria, the mare to return to racing after a strong finish to her spring in Melbourne.
Her last start was at Flemington on Derby Day, November 1, where she scored an upset over Sweet Idea in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) as a 21-1 outsider.
She’ll likely find the 1200m a bit short first-up but her resuming record shows three third place efforts from seven attempts so she shouldn’t be disgraced if accepted.
The equal highest-rated Geoffrey Bellmaine-nominated mare is then the Matthew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Solicit.
A four-year-old daughter of Street Cry, Solicit ran fourth to Bonaria in the Myer Classic beaten one and a half lengths before rounding out her spring with a fifth to Suavito in the Group 2 Momentum Energy Stakes (2000m) a week later.
She’s got a 50% first-up strike rate with two wins from four attempts and has won her only other 1200m start.
Ellerton & Zahra have also thrown in a nomination for Northern Meteor four-year-old Sentfromthestars who comes off a Benchmark 70 win at Sandown-Lakeside on February 4.
Another Myer Classic graduate looking to turn the tables on Bonaria in a Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes rematch is How Now Stakes winner Girl Guide.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained five-year-old also ran second in the Group 2 Tristarc to Sweet Idea before her Myer Classic sixth when under two lengths off the winner she faces again on the weekend.
One further back in the Myer Classic, seventh placed Politeness is also down to resume in Saturday’s feature.
She won last time out in mid-November beating Judicial Rock in the Group 3 Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown and finished third in a nice trial behind the exciting Fontein Ruby in a 990m Cranbourne trial on January 29.
Top local trainer Peter Moody meanwhile has won the past two editions of the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes with There’s Only One (2013) and A Time For Julia (2014).
He’ll shoot for his third straight this year with just the sole nominee, Statue Of Liberty four-year-old Spirits Dance.
Other notable Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes nominees include the Chris Waller-trained Champagne Cath coming off a Magic Millions Fillies & Mares Classic third on the Gold Coast, stablemate Calming Influence who won first-up at Flemington on New Year’s Day and Kensington Stakes runner-up Sumakaray.
See below for the full Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes 2015 nominations and ballot before the final field is out on Wednesday morning.
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2015 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 14/02/2015
|2||SOLICIT||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||2||59kg||103|
|4||SPIRITS DANCE||Peter G Moody||4||58kg||89|
|5||GIRL GUIDE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||5||58kg||97|
|7||CHAMPAGNE CATH||Chris Waller||7||57kg||90|
|8||PRECIOUS GEM||Gwenda Johnstone||8||57kg||86|
|9||CALMING INFLUENCE||Chris Waller||9||56kg||92|
|10||BEACH FRONT||Brent Stanley||10||56kg||78|
|12||SCARLET BILLOWS||Darren Weir||12||55kg||79|
|13||LONGCHAMP BELLE||Jason Warren||13||55kg||71|
|14||SOOSA RAMA||Colin Little||14||55kg||72|
|15||TYCOON TARA||Symon Wilde||15||55kg||83|
|16||MISS SOFTHANDS||Colin Little||16||55kg||70|
|17||SENTFROMTHESTARS||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||17||55kg||72|