After winning the race 12 months ago with Fast ‘N’ Rocking, Lindsay Park trainers David Hayes & Tom Dabernig are back for the Kevin Heffernan Stakes 2015 with a quartet of nominations for Saturday’s Sandown showdown.
One of the key support races on the Sandown Hillside card for Zipping Classic Day, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) has attracted a bumper 23 nominations.
Four represent Hayes & Dabernig including four-year-old War Pass stallion Galaxy Pegasus coming off a third over 1200m at Moonee Valley.
He is joined by stablemates Gracious Prospect who also ran third last weekend over 1400m at Flemington, eight-year-old Pago Rock who hasn’t won since April of last year and Sterling City last seen running sixth to Vashka in a Group 3 on Caulfield Cup Day.
The form of Tale Of The Cat five-year-old Gracious Prospect best matches that of last year’s Kevin Heffernan Stakes winner Fast ‘N’ Rocking who was third over 1400m at Flemington the Saturday before his Group 3 Sandown win.
A host of returning gallopers are nominated for the weight-for-age clash this year including Encosta De Lago Smokin’ Joey from the Mornington stables of Wez Hunter.
Winner of the 2014 The Goodwood in Group 1 company last year, Smokin’ Joey won back-to-back races in the winter before returning in mid-August when dead last running ninth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) beaten just over four lengths.
Also nominated to run in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes off a break are the likes of Darren Weir’s Melbourne Cup failure from last year Lidari who hasn’t raced since an unplaced Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) run in the autumn, imported stablemate Lord Van Percy whose last start was over 12 months ago on debut down under in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and a third Weir-trained runner Signoff who ran fourth to Protectionist in last year’s Melbourne Cup over the two miles.
Some of the gallopers boasting the fitness edge if accepted on Saturday after solid lead-up runs include John Sadler’s Chatham Stakes fourth placed Charmed Harmony, stablemate Japhils and The Monstar.
Brett Cavanough’s California Dane five-year-old The Monstar was fourth to Alpha Miss at Caulfield on Guineas Day I the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) beaten only one and a half lengths before a third on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington behind Sea Lord in the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1400m).
There are only two last start winners in the possible line-up with Symon Wilde’s Ararat winner over 1300m just this Sunday gone over the 1300m Tycoon Tara and the Gerald Moloney-trained Taddie Tondo who won a Bendigo sprint carrying a hefty 62.5kg late last month.
Robert Smerdon’s Group 1 performed Under The Louvre meanwhile was third in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes three back, but will be out to atone for a sixth behind Éclair Choice in the Group 2 tab.com.au Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
The 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes field and barriers are due for release on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes Nominations
Sandown Racecourse – 14/11/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||40x2497x38||BRING ME THE MAID||M||4||Peter G Moody||100|
|2||1023111154||CHARMED HARMONY||G||6||John Sadler||102|
|4||x5979x5476||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||G||7||Noel Mayfield-Smith||107|
|5||0x20x09203||GALAXY PEGASUS||H||4||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||84|
|7||1335528×53||GRACIOUS PROSPECT||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||92|
|8||5x371110x9||IN STYLE (NZ)||M||6||Michael Moroney||103|
|10||x111143x38||JAVA||G||4||Lee & Anthony Freedman||92|
|11||44260x900x||LIDARI (FR)||H||7||Darren Weir||104|
|12||5x1519125x||LORD VAN PERCY (GB)||G||6||Darren Weir||100|
|13||123x43198x||METAPHORICAL||M||5||Peter G Moody||96|
|14||44437×0586||MISTER MILTON||H||7||Norman Waymouth||78|
|15||2548240058||PAGO ROCK||G||8||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||90|
|16||745746×048||RAIN AFFAIR||G||8||Daniel Bowman||96|
|17||0392314x8x||SIGNOFF (IRE)||G||6||Darren Weir||103|
|18||124x08119x||SMOKIN’ JOEY||G||8||Wez Hunter||106|
|19||007560×906||STERLING CITY||G||7||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||105|
|20||1704350×91||TADDEI TONDO||G||6||Gerard Moloney||87|
|21||762145×243||THE MONSTAR||G||5||Brett Cavanough||89|
|22||1145×60771||TYCOON TARA||M||5||Symon Wilde||100|
|23||2123×52326||UNDER THE LOUVRE||H||5||Robert Smerdon||105|