A final field of 11 sprinters is engaged to run in the Testa Rossa Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse as part of the Naturalism Stakes Day action on Saturday in Melbourne.
The handicap showdown runs as Caulfield Race 7 at 3:35pm (AEST), markets on the $120,000 Listed Fight Cancer Foundation Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Keen Array ($4.20) in barrier five.
Dwayne Dunn rides the Lindsay Park-trained favourite who is second-up for the season.
The four-year-old Bel Esprit gelding kicked off his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago in the Listed Chandler Macleod Stakes (1200m) finishing just a length away second to Voodoo Lad with Dunn aboard.
He gets into Saturday’s race on the same 54.5kg weight and should be improved second-up, the Coolmore Stud Stakes runner-up from last November having his fourth run at the Caulfield track.
Hot on Keen Array’s heels in the Testa Rossa Stakes odds at $5.50 and firming is the early market mover The Virginian backed in from $6 to $4.50 since markets opened at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Damien Oliver is booked to partner the Toby Edmonds-trained Queensland raider first-up, the Hinchinbrook four-year-old hailing from the Gold Coast.
He gets the inside run from barrier one on the 54kg minimum in the Testa Rossa Stakes, his first run since the brave Eagle Farm effort running third to Under The Louvre as an $81 roughie in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 11.
The Virginian has won a subsequent 1000m trial at home and has won his only other first-up run to date.
Occupying the third line of betting at $5.50 is Santa Ana Lane in barrier three with Ben Melham in the saddle of the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Lope De Vega gelding.
The four-year-old is down in class after a second-up ninth in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington just last Saturday, so needs to handle the quick back-up to perform well this weekend.
Rounding out the single-figure hopes in the markets are the 61kg top weight Hucklebuck ($6.50), O’Malley ($8) drawn wide in barrier 10 and Charlie Boy ($9.50) in the outside alley.
The Phillip Stokes-trained Elvstorem six-year-old Hucklebuck hasn’t raced since his last when eighth to Winx at Rosehill on March 19 in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
That was his fourth Group 1 run in five starts and he is sure to appreciate the easier company first-up on the weekend.
He boasts a 50% winning strike rate when resuming (6-3-0-0) and comes off a successful Adelaide trial at his home track at Morphettville from September 2.
O’Malley is at the opposite end of the Testa Rossa Stakes weights carrying the 54kg minimum with Craig Newitt riding the Enver Jusufovic-trained Cranbourne galloper.
A six-year-old son of Street Boss, O’Malley comes off two spring runs at Moonee Valley the latest a fifth when 2.2 lengths off Wild Rain in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m).
Charlie Boy represents Peter & Paul Snowden with Mark Zahra riding from out in gate 11 on 59kg, the Group 1 placegetter chasing his first win since the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) in Sydney back in late February.
Check out the full Testa Rossa Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below complete with the latest Fixed Win betting odds from Ladbrokes.com.au.