The Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) is back to eight runners after final acceptances were taken on Wednesday, although the field has been shaken up a bit.
Initial nominees Bonaria and Sertorius failed to accept, replaced by late entries Bull Point and Mister Milton. Pat Hyland has opted to run Bonaria in the Premier Signs Stakes while last year’s Futurity Stakes runner-up Sertorius will no longer bid to run one place better.
The $400,000 Futurity Stakes is one of three Group One races running at Caulfield this Saturday, headlined by Peter Moody’s Dissident. The four-year-old is already a four-time Group One winner and will be heavily backed to win his fifth on Saturday.
Dissident didn’t have the best start to his campaign, resuming early in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and only just plugging home in third place. However the return to Caulfield over his preferred distance of 1400 metres three weeks later for the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes saw him return to career best form.
The four-year-old was smartly away before settling nicely in fourth place, one out and one back in a moderate pace. He switched deep on straightening before sprinting quickly from the 200m mark to win decisively, one and a half lengths in front of runner-up Entirely Platinum.
Dissident will once again run over 1400 metres at Caulfield in the 2015 Futurity Stakes, however the horse will need to overcome a wide start from the outside gate.
Team Hawkes’ Entirely Platinum did well to beat many classy rivals to second place in the CF Orr Stakes and will go head-to-head with Dissident once again on Saturday. The five-year-old gelding will jump from barrier six with Dwayne Dunn as jockey.
Gai Waterhouse’s tough mare Driefontein will enjoy the inside jump from barrier one as she continues her lengthy search for a campaign win.
Driefontein has had seven starts since October, running straight through the spring, summer, and now into the autumn. She’s come full circle after travelling from Melbourne to Sydney to the Gold Coast back to Sydney and finally she’ll return to Melbourne this Saturday. The five-year-old mare has failed to win a race this campaign but has come very close the last three times out.
The mare was a very good fourth in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on January 10, just three-quarters of a length behind winner Spurtonic, before getting out bobbed on the line by Weary in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) three weeks later. Driefontein was last seen running second to Heart Testa in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) on February 14, missing out on the win by less than half a length.
Seven-year-old gelding Smokin’ Joey had a similar luckless run during his spring-summer campaign but finally broke through to the winner’s circle in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) two weeks ago in a smart last-stride short half-head victory over Jacquinot Bay.
The Wez Hunter-trained gelding will jump from barrier seven with apprentice jockey Chris Parnham to ride.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Guest Of Honour has not been seen since he failed to finish in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) back in October but is set to return to the track in the Futurity Stakes. The six-year-old will enjoy a start from barrier three with Brad Rawiller.
Check out the complete 2015 Futurity Stakes field and barrier draw below.
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2015 Futurity Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||60x1126x31||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||8||59kg||115|
|2||8×85774441||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||Chris Parnham (a)||7||59kg||107|
|3||7x323620x5||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||5||59kg||100|
|4||114x1828x2||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||6||59kg||106|
|5||85×0084443||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||Steven Arnold||2||59kg||84|
|6||7x4x11x9Px||GUEST OF HONOUR (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Brad Rawiller||3||59kg||107|
|7||20×6206422||DRIEFONTEIN||Gai Waterhouse||Vlad Duric||1||57kg||107|
|8||76x12N311x||SUAVITO (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||Damien Oliver||4||57kg||100|