Early co-favourite for the Caulfield Cup The United States is the headline stayer among the Naturalism Stakes 2016 nominations for this weekend in Melbourne.
Two Group races highlight the Caulfield Racecourse program on Saturday including the $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) that offers a ballot exemption for the winner into the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) back at the track on October 15.
Prepared by Robert Hickmott for the Macedon Lodge power stable headed by owner Lloyd Williams, Galileo stallion The United States is second-up into this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival prep.
The seven-year-old returned on September 3 at Moonee Valley running under four lengths away sixth to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m).
Back up over more distance on Saturday he is sure to improve boasting a good record over the Naturalism Stakes distance of two wins and two seconds from five 2000m runs to date.
The import is best known for his Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill from March this year and is out to go one better than his second to Magnapal in last year’s Naturalism Stakes result.
The United States is also the shortest-priced of the bumper 28 Naturalism Stakes nominees in futures Caulfield Cup betting through Ladbrokes.com.au currently installed as the $15 co-favourite with international raider Scottish.
Hickmott has a total of four Naturalism Stakes entries this season.
The race’s top weight The United States (60kg) is joined in the nominations by stablemates Observational (54kg), Foundry (54kg) and Gallante (58.5kg).
Gallante was last seen racing in Sydney on April 9 winning the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Randwick, but also has winning form over the 2000m.
The other highest-rated Naturalism Stakes nominee is the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Tavago (59kg).
Winner of the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) in the autumn, the now four-year-old son of Tavistock has moved from New Zealand to Cranbourne and is out to atone for a first-up 11th in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
He pays $21 in all-in Caulfield Cup odds and is one of three four-year-olds in the mix for Saturday along with Ciaron Maher’s Crown Oaks winner Jameka and the Tony Pike-trained Queensland Oaks winner Provocative.
After The United States, Myboycharlie mare Jameka is the next shortest-priced Caulfield Cup entry running on Saturday at a current quote of $19 to take out the mile and a half classic.
Her and the Kiwi raider Provocative are joined by four other mares including Maher’s 2014 Crown Oaks champ Set Square coming off a third in the Dato’ and the Darren Weir-trained runner-up in the same Group 2 lead-up Real Love.
Melbourne Cup winning trainer Weir has a total of six Naturalism Stakes entries led by the former Perth Cup winner Real Love.
The reigning Naturalism Stakes winner Magnapal is back shooting for successive wins on the back of a fourth to Great Esteem in the Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) at the track on August 27.
The now seven-year-old son of Magnus carried 54kg to victory in the race on the back of a Heatherlie Handicap win 12 months ago, and goes up to 55.5kg this season.
The other best out of the Heatherlie this year are the Stuart Webb-trained winner Great Esteem who shoots for three straight Caulfield wins if accepted for on Saturday and the progressive Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained runner-up Tom Melbourne.
See below for the full Naturalism Stakes 2016 nominations and weights before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au for access to the weekend’s best betting odds and offers.
2016 Naturalism Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 17/09/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||610x5212x6||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||H||7||Robert Hickmott||1||60kg||111|
|2||2113061×0||TAVAGO (NZ)||G||4||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||2||59kg||108|
|3||33132114×2||REAL LOVE||M||6||Darren Weir||3||57kg||108|
|4||x0069x031x||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||4||58.5kg||107|
|6||0x25305x93||SET SQUARE||M||5||Ciaron Maher||6||55.5kg||105|
|7||72217x20x9||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||H||7||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||7||57.5kg||105|
|8||101x9065x8||ALMOONQITH (USA)||H||7||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||8||57.5kg||105|
|9||1416x411x0||PROVOCATIVE (NZ)||M||4||Tony Pike||9||54kg||102|
|10||12x26x5x60||ALPINE EAGLE||H||5||Tony McEvoy||10||56kg||102|
|12||x11120x984||MAGNAPAL||G||7||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||12||55.5kg||101|
|13||703x8148x0||ARAB DAWN (GB)||G||6||John O’Shea||13||54.5kg||99|
|14||4821x7x000||TALL SHIP (IRE)||G||6||Darren Weir||14||54kg||98|
|16||5400070711||GREAT ESTEEM||G||6||Stuart Webb||16||54kg||97|
|17||0171x110x2||TOM MELBOURNE (IRE)||G||6||Lee & Anthony Freedman||17||54kg||97|
|18||1x0x0730x5||OBSERVATIONAL (GB)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||18||54kg||97|
|19||x009x830x3||FOUNDRY (IRE)||G||7||Robert Hickmott||19||54kg||97|
|20||7×78142516||BOLD SNIPER (GB)||G||7||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||20||54kg||96|
|21||2157134×64||SWACADELIC (GER)||G||6||Aaron Purcell||21||54kg||94|
|22||1122x323x5||SECOND BULLET||G||6||Danny O’Brien||22||54kg||93|
|23||35x8421x74||GABELLA (FR)||M||7||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||23||54kg||93|
|24||2x0071x070||ZANTECA (NZ)||M||7||Darren Weir||24||54kg||93|
|25||673x7689x0||MANNDAWI (FR)||G||7||Darren Weir||25||54kg||92|
|26||x976144x36||MASTER ZEPHYR (GB)||G||5||Darren Weir||26||54kg||87|
|27||10x81642x4||THE BANDIT (JPN)||H||5||John Sadler||27||54kg||78|
|28||4x2x1145x5||VENGEUR MASQUE (IRE)||G||5||Michael Moroney||28||54kg||78|