The action of The Championships in Sydney may be over for another year but there’s still plenty to get excited about racing-wise at Royal Randwick on Saturday including the Japan Racing Association Plate 2015.
All Aged Stakes Day features eight races including two Group 1 highlights, and one of the key support acts on the program is the $150,000 Group 3 Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m).
This year’s handicap clash attracted 18 gallopers with Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller, who ran the quinella in the Sydney Cup last Saturday with stablemates Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman over the 3200m, playing a strong hand with five entries.
His highest rated hope is British import Index Linked, the Dansili seven-year-old having won back-to-back races in Melbourne over 2000m and 1950m respectively before a Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) 10th over the mile and a half on March 28.
The drop back to 2000m will suit better, his record over the distance (7-4-1-0) very good, but he has been allocated the hefty 59kg top weight which is a half-kilo more than he carried last time out.
Waller’s other entries are then last start Manion Cup third placegetter Bagman (58.5kg), Our Voodoo Prince (57kg) coming off a Sellwood Stakes second, in-form Dubawi mare Intimate Moment coming off a fourth in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) last weekend and Zabeel mare Rezoned (54kg) with Group 3 winning form in Adelaide from last winter.
Also allocated 58.5kg along with Bagman are the David Vandyke-trained mare Arabian Gold and Leebaz for Team Hawkes.
A four-year-old daughter of Dubai, Arabian Gold is after her first win since the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) last September, her three subsequent runs all produced unplaced efforts.
The past two of those however have been brave efforts in much tougher, Group 1 company when she was under a length away sixth in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 14 and then sixth to Kermadec at Randwick on April 6 last time out in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
She’s a gun at the 2000m and so will appreciate the step up in distance having won four of her previous five starts over it, and she is also undefeated at the track and distance making her an imposing force even with the big weight.
Leebaz meanwhile is a five-year-old son of Zabeel whose latest win was in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup over the mile last May.
A close fourth in the Emirates Stakes at Flemington in the spring, the gelding has had three runs this time in the latest being a disappointing 11th in the Doncaster when unsuited to the rain-affected track.
Also high up the JRA Plate weights are the likes of Snitzel six-year-old Malavio (57.5kg) and the John O’Shea-trained Malice (57.5kg), the ATC Cup winner over this distance at Rosehill last November coming off a first-up second in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) from late last month.
Other notable hopes include the Michael Kent-trained seven-year-old Pins mare Epingle racing second-up for the season, Tony McEvoy’s last start Albury Cup winner Kourkam and the Bart & James Cummings-trained Zabeel six-year-old Commission.
See below for the full Japan Racing Association Plate 2015 nominations, the final field and barrier draw due out on Wednesday.
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2015 Japan Racing Association Plate Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 18/04/2015
|1||ARABIAN GOLD||David Vandyke||1||58.5kg||105|
|2||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller||2=||59kg||102|
|3||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||2=||57kg||102|
|5||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||4=||58.5kg||101|
|8||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||8=||57kg||98|
|9||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||Chris Waller||8=||57kg||98|
|10||KOURKAM (FR)||Tony McEvoy||10=||56kg||96|
|11||GYPSY DIAMOND||Peter & Paul Snowden||10=||54kg||96|
|12||COUNT OF LIMONADE (IRE)||Mick Price||12=||55.5kg||95|
|13||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||12=||55.5kg||95|
|14||INTIMATE MOMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||14||54kg||94|
|15||SINGING FLAME||Kevin Moses||15||54kg||85|
|16||WORLD WIDE||Bede Murray||16||54kg||80|
|17||COMMISSION (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||17||54kg||79|
|18||REZONED (NZ)||Chris Waller||18||54kg||76|