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Race favourite Peace Force has officially been scratched from the 2015 Lough Neagh Stakes field in Brisbane this weekend due to a joint injury.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Bernardini mare from Sydney was leading betting for Doomben’s $175,000 Listed Jones Retail Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) that she was accepted for in favour of a run in the $250,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) over the mile at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Paying around $4 for the win the six-year-old was last seen running a close third when just a quarter-length off Villiers Stakes hope Mighty Lucky in Rosehill’s Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) on November 28.
Ryan had hoped to run her in Brisbane this weekend with the mare gearing up for a run on Magic Millions Day at the Gold Coast in January.
Instead he has been forced to withdraw the favourite from the Lough Neagh Stakes, Peace Force injuring herself on the float trip up from Sydney.
“She whacked her leg in the float on the way up there and we’ve had to treat her so she won’t be running,” Ryan told AAP.
“She has some bruising to a front joint.
“I don’t know what she will do now. We will have to wait and see how the leg is.
“It is disappointing because she was going so well.”
Ryan has no other runners on the Doomben race card but does have Red Excitement lining up in the Villiers Stakes back home.
The six-year-old, undefeated over a mile and shooting for his third 1600m win from as many attempts on the weekend, suffered a blow with the outside draw in the 20-starter field.
Jockey Brenton Avdulla also opted to ride the race favourite Happy Clapper, drawn well in gate six and carrying just 53kg off a last start win with 60.5kg on his back, instead of Red Excitement who Kerrin McEvoy now partners.
New favourite in Lough Neagh Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au meanwhile at a quote of $3.60 is the Peter Moody-trained Weinholt in gate four with Glen Boss aboard the last start Ballarat winner.
It is a tight affair with two others hot on the Melbourne visitor’s heels with the local Robert Heathcote-trained Saluter ($4.40) getting the rails run from barrier one off a victory at the track and distance two weeks ago and Tony Gollan’s market mover Fontelina ($4.60).
Well supported in from $6 to $4.60 in the latest Lough Neagh Stakes odds, seven-year-old Fontelina was last seen running third behind Didntcostalot in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on November 28.
Gollan, leading this season’s Brisbane Trainers’ Premiership by a notable margin, also saddles-up his Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom ($11) carrying the 59.5kg top weight with Tegan Harrison aboard and Brave Ali ($61).
The second longest priced outsider in the field behind Abu Ben Adam ($81), O’Reilly nine-year-old Brave Ali ran third last time out over 2200m but that was last December giving the veteran a year since his most recent run.
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