Facing just five rivals of his own age in Saturday’s 2016 Stan Fox Stakes leaves the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Mediterranean with no excuses according to his jockey Blake Shinn.
The well-bred Smart Missile colt is one of just six remaining chances in this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens after the early withdrawal of the Chris Waller-trained High Mist from the line-up.
Mediterranean jumps from the outside alley in the diminutive field of three-year-olds and has his regular rider Shinn continuing his association.
The galloper has won just one of his six career starts to date when saluting on a Heavy (8) track at Canterbury over 1200m in the winter.
First-up he looked impressive running a close second despite jumping the short-priced favourite at Randwick on August 6 in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) behind Thronum.
He then placed fifth in the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) and then eighth to the same horse Astern in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at his next two runs, beaten around 4 – 5 lengths in each.
This weekend Mediterranean is back at Rosehill Racecourse for the fourth time, chasing his first top three run at the track.
Shinn believes he is up to the challenge despite his $9.50 odds in Stan Fox Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“He’s up to them,” Shinn told Racenet this week.
“He’s raced in restricted room at his past two starts.
“The draw should allow me to give him enough galloping room.
“There will be no excuses and Saturday will tell us where he’s at going forward.”
Markets are led by the Team Hawkes-trained Up & Coming Stakes winner Divine Prophet ($2.30) and the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro colt Impending ($2.80) coming off a fourth and third respectively in the Golden Rose.
The roughie in the Stan Fox Stakes odds this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival at $31 for the upset is Waller’s remaining runner Cellarman.
Waller withdrew last start Warwick Farm winning stablemate High Mist from the Stan Fox in favour of a 2016 Spring Champion Stakes lead-up run in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at the meeting.
Mossman colt Cellarman stays in the shorter-distance clash, but needs to improve notably off his 10th in the Run To The Rose.
After that he finished sixth at Canterbury over 1550m in a blanket finish beaten only a length, but he is back up in class this weekend with Waller hoping to confirm a $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) bid for stakes winner.
“I expected he would take the next step, but things have not worked out that way yet,” Waller admitted to The Daily Telegraph.
“He is getting to a trip which looks to suit him and this race will probably tell us if we need to lower our sights.”
For full Stan Fox Stakes 2016 betting markets and the weekend’s top Sydney racing offers visit our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au today.