Last year’s runner-up The Cleaner will be out to go one better when the veteran weight-for-age performer debuts for his new trainer Peter Gelagotis in the PB Lawrence Stakes 2016 this weekend.
Gelagotis has taken over from Tasmanian horseman Mick Burles after connections made the surprise decision to change stables with the Savoire Vivre gelding.
The now nine-year-old The Cleaner was scratched out of an earlier return in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) in favour of kicking off his spring in Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse.
This year’s PB Lawrence Stakes nominations attracted 17 early entries, The Cleaner having run second to Mourinho when narrowly defeated in the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival lead-up last season.
He backed-up to win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) over the Moonee Valley mile next run, a race he targets again this September, before a third in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) won by the Lawrence Stakes champ Mourinho.
The Cleaner has a strong first-up record (9-3-3-1) and is out to atone for his second last when seventh as the beaten favourite at Launceston back in December’s Listed Conquering Stakes (1400m).
The equal highest-rated PB Lawrence Stakes nominee this season is the Nigel Blackiston-trained mare Suavito (110) whose last victory was in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) over the same track / distance back in mid-February.
Her latest run was in Sydney on April 9 when 11th to Azkadellia in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), a run her trainer is hoping the six-year-old daughter of Torn Park can improve on back in Melbourne this Saturday.
Suavito is yet to finish out of the money in a campaign kick-off (5-3-1-1) and also has an excellent record at Caulfield (8-4-1-3).
Three other mares are nominated for the PB Lawrence Stakes including Ciaron Maher’s two latest Crown Oaks winners Set Square (2014) and Jameka (2015).
A now five-year-old Reset mare, Set Square’s last run was back in October of 2015 when fifth to Gailo Chop beaten only 1.75 lengths in a blanket finish for the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Stablemate Jameka meanwhile is a four-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie whose last start produced a brave fourth to Kiwi raider Sofia Rosa in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) in early April, which followed her gutsy second to Tavago in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) against the boys.
Jameka won a Cranbourne trial on a Heavy (8) on Monday morning over 990m and looks on track to kick off her career with a big run in the PB Lawrence Stakes at a track she hasn’t seen since her second in last October’s Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
The other mare in the mix is the Danny O’Brien-trained Miss Rose De Lago, a Caulfield specialist who has won three from four at the track.
Other notable PB Lawrence Stakes entries including April’s Mornington Cup winner Berisha, Wez Hunter’s veteran nine-year-old Smokin’ Joey, Darren Weir’s Flying Spur four-year-old Mahuta and his last start conqueror Lord Of The Sky.
Mahuta ran third first-up to Lord Of The Sky in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at the track on July 30, which could prove the form line to follow into Saturday’s rematch over 200m further.
See below for the full PB Lawrence Stakes 2016 nominations, the final field and barriers due for release on Wednesday.
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2016 PB Lawrence Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 13/08/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||0721x0420x||AWESOME ROCK||H||5||Leon & Troy Corstens||103|
|3||66216×0320||BY THE GRACE||G||6||Andrew Noblet||89|
|4||129x08110x||CHILL PARTY||G||5||Tom Hughes||85|
|5||2357x0955x||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||103|
|6||744475×118||JACQUINOT BAY||G||9||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||104|
|8||2270x00x41||LORD OF THE SKY||H||6||Robbie Laing||105|
|9||94x11120x9||MAGNAPAL||G||7||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||101|
|11||1410x3419x||MISS ROSE DE LAGO||M||6||Danny O’Brien||102|
|12||8x1x70115x||NEVIS (IRE)||G||7||Robert Hickmott||96|
|13||230x25305x||SET SQUARE||M||5||Ciaron Maher||105|
|14||9x0x0700x5||SMOKIN’ JOEY||G||9||Wez Hunter||101|
|15||x117x1390x||SUAVITO (NZ)||M||6||Nigel Blackiston||110|
|16||x884821x7x||TALL SHIP (IRE)||G||6||Darren Weir||102|
|17||245x21377x||THE CLEANER||G||9||Peter Gelagotis||110|