Joe Pride’s returning Group 2 winner Rock Sturdy will wear the No. 1 saddlecloth first-up at Randwick Racecourse leading out a quality field of sprinters in Saturday’s Hall Mark Stakes 2015.
A key support race on the All Aged Stakes Day program on the weekend, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Ticketek Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) is due to run as Randwick Race 7 at 4:25pm (AEST).
Thirteen final acceptors make up the field for the set weights plus penalties clash including Fastnet Rock four-year-old Rock Sturdy, the stallion having his first start since winning the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in late September last year.
A progressive type and known wet-track performer, Rock Sturdy comes off two good Warwick Farm trials and will be ridden by Hugh Bowman from gate nine this weekend shooting for his first win when resuming.
He has had two previous first-up runs finishing second in but will have to be the ball on Saturday carrying 59kg, equal with the also resuming Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Charlie Boy.
This year’s Hall Mark Stakes marks the return for a whole host of top types including the Rodney Northam-trained Big Money and Team Hawkes’ Our Boy Malachi who are drawn wide in barriers 10 and 11 respectively.
Choisir five-year-old Big Money won back-to-back black types at Doomben back in December including the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) and kicks off another campaign targeting the Brisbane riches this season.
He won a trial in NSW on March 29 and heads towards the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Doomben on June 6.
Also 2015 Stradbroke Handicap bound this upcoming Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Our Boy Malachi also looks an imposing force in the Hall Mark on Saturday with Tommy Berry to ride.
The Top Echelon six-year-old has won his latest six starts, the latest of which was the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on December 13, and like Big Money won his lead-up trial in late March ahead of the Hall Mark return.
Other last start winners either first-up or second-up on Saturday are then the John O’Shea-trained Vashka in gate two for James McDonald who won five straight in Sydney over the spring – summer season before a freshen-up and Pride’s other runner Craftiness in gate three.
Starcraft four-year-old Craftiness has won six of his seven career starts and ran second in his only loss so far, the progressive gelding up in class for a maiden black type run this weekend.
Pride has a total of four final acceptors in the Hall Mark Stakes field this year with Rock Sturdy and Craftiness joined by Rain Affair (barrier six) and Target In Sight (barrier 12).
Commands seven-year-old Rain Affair comes off a brave fifth to star sprinter Chautauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at the track from April 6 and is out to break a winning drought going back to the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) in February last year.
Nadeem gelding Target In Sight may have the wide draw but the form is there with the five-year-old winning the Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill in mid-March before a second to Generalife last start in the Group 3 St Kingdom Stakes (1200m).
The table below features the full Hall Mark Stakes 2015 field, barriers and jockeys.
For all the weekend’s best odds and access to Best Tote or SP + 20% markets on the two Sydney Group 1s, visit Ladbrokes.com.au now and open your account with the bookie that does it better!
2015 Hall Mark Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (4:25pm) – 18/04/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||23x211421x||ROCK STURDY||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||9||59kg||101|
|2||147x02346x||CHARLIE BOY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tye Angland||4||59kg||96|
|3||1211x4911x||BIG MONEY||Rodney Northam||Robert Thompson||10||58.5kg||105|
|4||14131×3346||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||7||58.5kg||102|
|5||6630x157x0||DECISION TIME||Clarry Conners||Brenton Avdulla||1||58kg||104|
|6||x783104615||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||8||58kg||102|
|7||x090x3x745||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Steven Arnold||6||58kg||102|
|8||52x1714x12||TARGET IN SIGHT||Joseph Pride||Joshua Parr||12||58kg||102|
|9||463341737x||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Sam Clipperton||13||58kg||95|
|10||x1511x111x||OUR BOY MALACHI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||11||57.5kg||105|
|11||928x44067x||HIDDEN WARRIOR||Gordon Yorke||Jim Cassidy||5||56kg||92|
|12||66x211111x||VASHKA||John O’Shea||James McDonald||2||56kg||92|
|13||11x2111x1||CRAFTINESS||Joseph Pride||Blake Shinn||3||56kg||87|