A final field of 15 middle-distance gallopers is engaged to face off in the Rosehill Gardens Racecourse feature on Saturday taking to the Sydney track for the Festival Stakes 2015.
The traditional lead-up for next month’s $250,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on December 12, this weekend’s $150,000 Listed Sky Thoroughbred Central Festival Stakes (1500m) is due to run as Race 8 at 5:05pm (AEST) on a bumper nine race card.
Sitting top of the Festival Stakes field and weights with 59.5kg is the defending Chris Waller-trained champion I’m Imposing drawn in barrier eight with Tye Angland booked to ride the veteran Danehill Dancer 10-year-old.
Winner of the race 12 months ago carrying four kilos less, warhorse I’m Imposing was last seen racing at Randwick in early October when third to Complacent in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m).
He is down in distance this weekend then for his 45th career start having enjoyed a credible record over the 1500m to date with a win, two seconds and three thirds from eight previous starts.
Waller has dual representation in the line-up on Saturday with his other hope at back-to-back wins being Heart Testa drawn one wider in barrier nine with Blake Shinn aboard.
A six-year-old son of Testa Rossa, Heart Testa comes off a string of good spring runs in Sydney including a Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) third from September and a fourth to fellow Festival Stakes hope Zanbagh over 1350m at the track in the mud on November 14.
The gelding carried 60.5kg that day and will appreciate the drop to 57kg this weekend.
There are just two last start winners in the mix on Saturday including the aforementioned Zanbagh for John Thompson.
First-up the Bernardini mare enjoyed a win on a Heavy-rated Rosehill track carrying 54kg to victory with Kathy O’Hara in the saddle, the five-year-old getting in on the same minimum this weekend with O’Hara retaining the mount from a gun barrier two draw.
The other horse shooting for successive wins is the Jason Deamer-trained Newcastle galloper Nevagotavote who won over 1550m at Canterbury on November 7 ahead of his black-type debut this weekend.
The rails run on Saturday belongs to the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Ninth Legion drawn in barrier one with Christian Reith booked to ride the Fastnet Rock six-year-old who was last seen running just one and a half lengths away fourth to Charmed Harmony in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) on November 14.
Ninth Legion carries the equal second heaviest weight in the Festival Stakes allocated 59kg along with the John O’Shea-trained It’s Somewhat in gate four with James McDonald in the saddle of the Dynaformer gelding who shoots for his first win since the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) back in late February.
Coming off a nice lead-up run meanwhile are the likes of the Gai Waterhouse-trained Frespanol who has finished top two in his past three runs and Mighty Lucky for Gosford’s Fred Cowell.
Choisir five-year-old Frespanol and Casino Prince six-year-old Mighty Lucky ran second and third respectively to Zanbagh last time out at the track, the step up in distance set to improve both of their chances of turning the tables.
Along with Frespanol, Waterhouse has also accepted for the returning Pheidon to be ridden by Joshua Parr from gate 10 in the Al Maher gelding’s first run since a seventh at the track over 1800m back in late May.
Check out the full Festival Stakes 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below then head to Ladbrokes.com.au and deposit just $50 quoting the code BONUS150 to enjoy an additional $150 in bonuses!
2015 Festival Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Rosehill Race 8 (5:05pm) – 28/11/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x03336x983||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||8||59.5kg||104|
|2||350x19x87x||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||4||59kg||103|
|3||202×364604||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Christian Reith||1||59kg||103|
|4||111x1180x0||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||TBA||5||58kg||101|
|5||8x231167x7||TINTO||Rex Lipp||Tim Clark||15||57.5kg||104|
|6||2111x711x6||CENTRE PIVOT||John Sargent||Glyn Schofield||12||57kg||99|
|7||6150×40344||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||9||57kg||99|
|8||61320x107x||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||Joshua Parr||10||57kg||99|
|9||44217×4212||FRESPANOL||Gai Waterhouse||Thomas Huet||7||56.5kg||98|
|10||1112x21x29||PEACE FORCE||Gerald Ryan||TBA||14||54.5kg||98|
|11||89x00549x1||ZANBAGH||John P Thompson||Ms Kathy O’Hara||2||54kg||93|
|12||2236264×43||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Nathan Thomas||6||54kg||90|
|13||101×012210||SLATE ON EDGE||Brett Thompson||Mathew Cahill||11||54kg||89|
|14||3192231×70||KEEPIT TO YOURSELF (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||TBA||3||54kg||88|
|15||0819×20141||NEVAGOTAVOTE||Jason Deamer||Ms Samantha Clenton (a)||13||54kg||88|