Danny O’Brien’s last start Atlantic Jewel Stakes winning filly Merriest is co-favourite to score back-to-back Black-Type victories at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Friday night’s Scarborough Stakes 2016.
Registered as the MVRC Champagne Stakes, this season’s $150,000 Group 3 1PRINT Scarborough Stakes (1200m) has attracted a capacity field of three-year-old fillies with 12 starters plus two emergencies.
Two are currently installed as the co-$4.20 favourites in the Scarborough Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for Moonee Valley Race 6 at 9:00pm (AEST) on Friday, Merriest and Prompt Response drawn at opposite ends of the field in barriers 2 and 12 respectively.
Damien Oliver stays aboard O’Brien’s progressive daughter of Denman Merriest, who improved on her eighth to I Am A Star when beaten three lengths in Caulfield’s Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) from mid-August, to win the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) on September 3.
In the Atlantic Jewel Merriest narrowly defeated gun WA filly Whispering Brook, a three-time Group winner in Perth who runs in the $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Merriest meanwhile returns to the Valley for the second time with the wide alley on Friday night to overcome.
Prompt Response shapes up has her main danger with Kerrin McEvoy riding the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained daughter of Beneteau.
McEvoy was in the saddle for her fourth in the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in March and her second to Missrock in the Group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) in April.
She went on to win at Newcastle with Sam Clipperton aboard later in the autumn by a runaway 4.5 lengths, and has trialled nicely twice since in Sydney.
Friday Prompt Response needs to handle the opposite way of racing at the tight Valley circuit, racing in Melbourne for the first time since her Group 3 second on debut at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Day.
Close second elect in the Scarborough Stakes markets at $4.80 is the early mover My Country, backed in from an opening quote of $6.
Prepared by Peter & Paul Snowden, the Poet’s Voice filly has won three of her five starts and is yet to run worse than third.
She is a stakes’ winner in Brisbane over 1200m from the winter and first-up this campaign ran a brave third only a quarter-length off Kentucky Miss in a blanket finish at Flemington in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) a fortnight ago.
That start My Country ran from barrier 13 down the straight with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle and on Friday Blake Shinn takes over from gate eight, into seven if the emergencies fail to get a start.
The next best in betting at $7.50 is Motown Lil in the outside alley with Nicholas Hall continuing his association with the Robert Smerdon-trained Sebring filly.
She comes off a Mornington win over 1000m from September 8 as the odds-on favourite, and is back in stakes’ company for the first time since late July when sixth to Viddora in Adelaide’s Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m).
Rounding out the single figure fancies in the Scarborough Stakes field and odds this season are the rails-drawn Athena Lass ($9) who ran third in the Quezette and fourth in the Atlantic Jewel, and the fellow Lindsay Park-trained Nicconi filly Hear The Chant ($9) drawn in gates one and six respectively.
Check out the full MVRC Champagne Scarborough Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au in the table below.