After making a late entry for his Group 1 winner Smokin’ Joey in the Bletchingly Stakes 2015, Mornington trainer Wez Hunter has now accepted his stable star to run in the Caulfield feature on Saturday.
Seven-year-old Smokin’ Joey leads a final field of 11 sprinters facing off in the $150,000 Group 3 Race-Tech Australia Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), the weight-for-age showdown set to run as Race 7 at 3:40pm (AEST) to close black-type racing for the season.
WA’s Chris Parnham has the ride on Hunter’s veteran Encosta De Lago gelding, taking over from Damien Browne who rode last year’s The Goodwood winner to victory last start at Ipswich in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) on June 13.
In the Eye Liner Smokin’ Joey carried 59.5kg from barrier seven of 10 and this weekend drops a kilo to 58.5kg with gate nine.
The other last start winner in the mix is the Carole Heffernan-trained Rich Jack who ventures into stakes’ company for the first time.
Darren Gauci is booked to ride the progressive Danerich gelding from gate four on the back of a win over the same track and distance from July 4 when Rich Jack had 60.5kg.
Heffernan has had just one previous black-type runner back in 1997 and admitted this week she would have liked to get Rich Jack’s rating up higher before stepping him up in class, but his owner was keen to put him to the test in the Bletchingly.
Along with Smokin’ Joey (106) the other top-rated runner in this year’s Bletchingly Stakes field is the Robbie Laing-trained Lord Of The Sky (105).
Craig Newitt rides the dual Group 1 runner-up from a gun barrier three draw, the Danerich stallion out to atone for a seventh as the beaten short-priced favourite in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) from the start of the month.
Prior to that Lord Of The Sky, fourth in last year’s Bletchingly Stakes, was second in Sydney’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stake sand The Goodwood at Morphettville in mid-May – form Laing is hoping the four-year-old can return to on Saturday.
The best placed in the Monash Stakes backing up in the Bletchingly Stakes back at Caulfield this weekend is the Peter Moody-trained runner-up Angels Beach.
Drawn the rails on Saturday, the five-year-old Bel Esprit mare was well beaten when second past the post behind winner Miss Promiscuity on July 4 and will look to go one better and keep her undefeated 1200m Caulfield record intact.
Also coming off a nice lead-up are the likes of the Peter White-trained California Dane four-year-old Inspector who ran second at Geelong in easier company ahead of this class test and the Robbie Griffiths-trained Nadeem Lass.
A five-year-old Nadeem mare, Nadeem Lass was runner-up down the Flemington straight over 1100m twice in June before a close fifth when beaten under two lengths by Play Master in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m), also held at Flemington, on July 11.
See below for the full Bletchingly Stakes 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2015 Bletchingly Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 7 (3:40pm) – 25/07/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||444124×081||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||Chris Parnham||9||58.5kg||106|
|2||x422704227||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Craig Newitt||3||58.5kg||105|
|3||8225×99027||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||11||58.5kg||92|
|4||3143×43121||RICH JACK||Carole Heffernan||Darren Gauci||4||58.5kg||83|
|5||276×216212||INSPECTOR||Peter White||Dale Smith||2||58.5kg||76|
|6||1x103x0x0x||WALES||Richard Laming||Steven Arnold||6||58.5kg||75|
|7||58611x290x||PETROLOGY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damien Oliver||10||58kg||92|
|8||3350x5306x||PLATINUM ROCKER||Lee & Shannon Hope||Craig Williams||7||56.5kg||98|
|9||5633133225||NADEEM LASS||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||8||56.5kg||89|
|10||1x2317x262||ANGELS BEACH||Peter G Moody||TBA||1||56.5kg||99|
|11||x11277189x||WRITTEN DASH||Danny Curran||Dean Yendall||5||56kg||78|