The progressive Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Vezalay is one of a number of mares sweating on a start in a capacity field for Saturday’s 2015 Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington Racecourse.
One of the key support races on the Makybe Diva Stakes Day program in Melbourne this weekend, the $200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) attracted a bumper 22 early entries and has a capacity field of 16 starters plus 4 emergencies.
Sitting 21st on the ballot and in danger of missing out on a run in the 2015 Myer Classic lead-up is Shamardal four-year-old Vezalay.
A winner of two of her seven career starts, Vezalay is a Group 1 performer who was last seen running third to Madam Gangster in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Memsie Stakes Day, August 29.
Co-trainer Troy Corstens is hoping that performance was enough to get her a run in the Let’s Elope Stakes, the mare also nominated for two other races on the Flemington card on Saturday.
As a precaution the team entered her for both the $200,000 Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) where she would carry 53kg in the handicap sprint and the $120,000 Listed The Sofitel (1400m), Damien Oliver booked for the ride in place of Michael Rodd.
“She was very good at Caulfield, she just laid in the last 50m but she’s going to run in the Let’s Elope this coming Saturday, Damien Oliver is booked to ride her,” he told Racing Victoria.
“Just as a back-up we’ve got her in the Bobbie Lewis – the 1200m.
“We were obviously a first emergency in the race at Caulfield… we’ve got a little bit more prizemoney behind us but probably not enough to ensure we’re guaranteed a run on Saturday.”
Corstens confirmed that all going well, a good enough run in one of the Group races this weekend would keep a run in the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 26 at Caulfield Racecourse on the cards for Vezalay.
“She needs to run a really good race in either of those and then we’ll try and head to the Rupert Clarke,” he said.
Vezalay’s last run over 1400m was at Flemington in mid-March when third, beaten under a length in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m), giving her trainers confidence she can handle the distance if she makes the Let’s Elope Stakes field.
“I think it’s imperative that she draws a gate,” Corstens said.
“She’s much better when she can get a little bit of cover. So hopefully we draw a nice gate and she can give Damien a nice ride.”
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