After a nice Boxing Day return from Paul Beshara’s Group 1 performer Richie’s Vibe the Morphettville trainer is confident improved fitness could lead to an upset by his galloper in Saturday’s Australia Stakes 2016.
The headline race of the weekend in Melbourne, the 19 nominations for the weight-for-age $200,000 Group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) feature four individual Group 1 winners.
Also in the mix is Beshara’s Danerich six-year-old Richie’s Vibe who was last seen running at home on December 26 when a half-length away second to Justify That in the Listed Christmas Handicap (1200m).
It has been a long time between runs for Richie’s Vibe who hasn’t won a race since the 2014 Australia Stakes two years ago.
He bypassed last year’s edition of the Moonee Valley sprint but is back looking to emulate champion mare Black Caviar who won dual editions of the Australia Stakes on non-consecutive years in 2010 and 2012.
Yet to win second-up from four previous attempts, Richie’s Vibe has a strong 1200m record of four wins, three seconds and a third from 12 runs over the distance he sees again this weekend.
Beshara said the horse has stripped fitter from his run back home last month and that with conditions to suit he’ll be a competitive hope against the likes of Phillip Stokes’s fellow Adelaide raider Hucklebuck, the returning Rebel Dane and the in-form Durendal coming off a Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) win at Flemington.
“He’ll be right in that, he’s very, very well,” Beshara told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He had a great first-up race in the Christmas Handicap.
“Ran second, 50m out I thought he had it won, but he had a headwind in there, the 59kg just had a little bit of tell on him.
“He’s a lot fitter now. He’ll be very competitive on Saturday.”
Richie’s Vibe carried 59kg for his Christmas Handicap second off an eight-week break and drops half a kilo to 58.5kg under the WFA conditions of his Group 2 Moonee Valley.
Four different jockeys have been aboard for Richie’s Vibe’s four latest runs going back to October last year including Ms Jamie Kah last time out.
In a nice boost for the Australia Stakes, ace hoop Damien Oliver comes aboard.
Oliver rode the sprinter to a black-type victory on Melbourne Cup Day in 2013 and for four more runs on the trot that campaign including a disappointing 15th to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) in February of 2014.
His last association with Richie’s Vibe was a fifth to Chautauqua in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) in February last year as a $31 outsider, beaten five lengths in the Caulfield clash.
Richie’s Vibe’s last Moonee Valley run meanwhile was on Cox Plate Day during the spring when ninth to Kiwi galloper Turn Me Loose, subsequent winner of the Emirates Stakes, in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m).
The 2016 Australia Stakes field is released on Wednesday morning so stay tuned.
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