The official Doncaster Mile 2015 field is now out with the barrier draw for Saturday’s feature race at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of The Championships to be conducted shortly.
A capacity number of final acceptances have been taken by Racing NSW for this year’s $3 million Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m), including Japan’s Real Impact adding an international edge to the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival classic.
The Noriyuki Hori-trained Deep Impact seven-year-old travelled down under for the first time earlier this month and made an immediate impact, as his name suggests he would, winning the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in a narrow finish with Criterion.
The evergreen veteran then has led the early pre-field Doncaster Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au but does have a number of hoodoos to overcome if he is to salute for the punters and become the first favourite since the Gai Waterhouse-trained More Joyous (2012) to take out the handicap clash.
His age is the first barrier as no seven-year-old has won the Doncaster since Waterhouse’s dual champion Pharaoh successfully defended his title back in 1995.
He is also out to become the first international Doncaster Mile winner, and if successful with be the first horse since Vision And Power (2009) to complete the George Ryder Stakes – Doncaster Mile double in a single season.
Real Impact, to be ridden by James McDonald, gets into the Doncaster Mile field on 55kg, no horse having carried that weight to victory in the past 30 years.
The two closest winners to that weight since 1983 were Rangirangdoo (2010) and Pharaoh (1994) both successful with 55.5kg.
Real Impact is also joined by fellow Japanese raider World Ace, to be ridden by Nicholas Hall, who is out to improve on his 11th in the George Ryder last start.
This year’s Doncaster Mile weights meanwhile are led by the Chris Waller-trained Sacred Falls with 58kg, last carried to victory by the mighty mare Sunline (2002).
Sacred Falls, a Zac Purton mount this year, is the dual defending Doncaster Mile champion having won for Waller in both 2013 and 2014 carrying 53kg and 56.5kg to victory respectively with Purton aboard last year for the win.
He is out to make history as the first triple Doncaster Mile winner but hasn’t won a race since the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at the track and distance on September 20, with his latest form including a 12th in the George Ryder leaving a fair bit to be desired.
Waller has a total of four Doncaster Mile acceptors this year including last year’s runner-up Royal Descent, the former Oaks winning mare coming off a brave fourth when two lengths off Real Impact in the George Ryder with the ‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira riding this weekend.
Waller has won a total of four Doncaster Miles in his time and Royal Descent (54kg) perhaps looks his best chance of the win in 2015.
Also in the Doncaster Mile field is Waller’s Kingston Town Classic winner Moriarty, while his veteran nine-year-old stablemate I’m Imposing is out of the mix.
The stable also has the highly-rated youngster Kermadec as one of the four emergencies, the Australian Turf Club (ATC) board opting not to use their powers to get the gun Teofilo colt into the starting line-up.
One of the best in early Doncaster Mile betting markets, Kermadec ran fourth two back in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington and then ran third to Real Impact in the George Ryder two weeks ago.
Kermadec is the second emergency while the first spare sweating on an early scratching to make the starting line-up is the John O’Shea-trained Sweynesse who ran second in the Randwick Guineas and fourth in the Rosehill Guineas in his two most recent starts.
Filling one of the final spots in the capacity 20-starter field meanwhile is the Nigel Blackiston-trained Thorn Park mare Suavito to be ridden by Corey Brown.
She gets in on the 50kg minimum and is in flying form having won her past four on the trot going back to Cox Plate Day last spring.
First-up this season she scored a maiden Group 1 win in the Futurity Stakes over the 1400m at Caulfield before her last start victory on March 14 in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington ahead of her first Sydney run of the year this weekend.
Mares have won two of the past four editions of the Doncaster with More Joyous (2012) and Sacred Choice (2011) getting the job done over the boys in recent years.
While Sweynesse and Kermadec need a scratching to make Saturday’s starting 20, the ace three-year-old guaranteed a Doncaster Mile run this year is the Bart & James Cummings-trained Hallowed Crown.
Three-year-olds have won the Doncaster Mile four times in the past 10 years, most recently in 2013 for Sacred Falls’ first of two wins.
Set to carry 52kg on the weekend with Tommy Berry, who won with Sacred Falls two years ago, riding on a weight which Sacred Choice won with in 2011, the Street Sense colt won the Golden Rose last September before wins in the Hobartville and the Randwick Guineas this time in.
His most recent start was a third behind Australian Derby hope Volkstok’n’barrell in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), the drop back in distance to 1600m to aid his chances on the weekend.
See below for the official Doncaster Mile 2015 field, the barrier draw taking place live this morning at 11:30am (AEDT).
2015 Doncaster Mile Final Field
Royal Randwick – 04/04/2015
|1||Sacred Falls||58kg||Zac Purton|
|2||Happy Trails||56.5kg||Damien Oliver|
|3||World Ace||55.5kg||Nick Hall|
|4||Real Impact||55kg||James McDonald|
|6||Royal Descent||54kg||Joao Moreira|
|7||Ninth Legion||52.5kg||Dwayne Dunn|
|9||Cosmic Endeavour||52kg||Tim Clark|
|10||Hallowed Crown||52kg||Tommy Berry|
|12||It’s Somewhat||51.5kg||Craig Williams|
|13||Diamond Drille||51kg||Thomas Huet|
|16||Arabian Gold||50.5kg||Chad Schofield|
|20||Plucky Belle||50kg||Kathy O’Hara|