Mark Kavanagh’s in-form mare Wild Rain continued her nice lead-up into Saturday’s 2015 Doveton Stakes at Sandown Hillside with a strong piece of trackwork at Flemington on Tuesday morning.
One of 20 nominations taken for this year’s $120,000 Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m), the four-year-old daughter of Manhattan Rain comes off back-to-back seconds this time in.
During the winter the short-distance specialist was runner-up to Miss Promiscuity in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in her black-type debut before a trip to Adelaide produced a stakes win.
At Morphettville in late July she won the Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) before a spell.
Returning to Melbourne during the Cup Carnival on Crown Oaks Day on November 5 the mare caught the eye first-up when second behind The Quarterback at Flemington in the Listed Dilmah Tea Stakes (1000m) on a Heavy (9) track.
Her latest run was at Ballarat on November 21 on a completely different track rating, handling a Good (4) to finish a mere short half-head off Murt The Flirt when runner-up in a three-and-four-years-old set weights sprint.
From eight previous runs over the 1000m she sees in Saturday’s Doveton Stakes, Wild Rain boasts four wins, a second and a third.
Her form then for the summer showdown is excellent as was her top gallop at Flemington.
Leaving her track partner for dead in the closing stables on the steeple grass, she covered the 1000m in a sharp 1:05.37 including a final 400m sectional time of 23.21 seconds.
Also part of the morning’s gallopers and Doveton Stakes bound on the weekend was the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Java.
While Wild Rain enjoys a drop back from 57kg last start to 55kg in the handicap clash on Saturday, fellow four-year-old Java will carry three kilos more with 58kg.
It is still a drop for the Medaglia D’Oro gelding who had 59kg on his back when 3.35 lengths off Famous Seamus last start on November 14 at the Sandown track for a sixth in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m).
That was Java’s third run at Hillside for his first loss.
He is out to bounce back on the weekend after working alone with Daniel Moor in the saddle over 800m at Flemington this morning, speeding up for a final 400m completed in 24.69 seconds.
Doveton Stakes weights are topped by the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Tried And Tired with 60kg, the six-year-old son of Niello not having raced since a ninth to Amovatio in the Listed Winter Championship over the mile at Flemington in July.
Defending Doveton Stakes winner Danger Close gets in on the 54kg minimum for Mornington trainer Jason Warren after the Written Tycoon gelding, who is three-from-three at the track to date, carried the same weight to victory in the race 12 months ago.
Sydney’s Joe Pride meanwhile is confident heading into the Doveton Stakes with his Lonhro five-year-old Diamond Oasis, allocated 58.5kg, who debuts at the track.
He has won five of his 11 previous runs at the distance making him a specialist at the 1000 metres according to his Warwick Farm trainer who has never saddled-up a Sandown runner before.
“He’s a specialist 1000-metre horse and I’m sure he’ll be hard to beat on Saturday,” Pride told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“It’s his first go at Sandown, I’m not sure if it’s a track you can handle first go because I’ve never been there myself, but he’s in good order.”
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