The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Group 1 winning mare English is the headline nominee and current all-in betting favourite to win the Premiere Stakes 2016 at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday.
Sydney Spring Racing Carnival hits fever pitch on the weekend for Epsom Handicap Day featuring six Group status races including the $300,000 Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) for the sprinters.
On Monday Racing NSW received a bumper 18 Premiere Stakes nominations with futures Premiere Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Encosta De Lago four-year-old English ($3.50).
As a filly she hit the headlines in the autumn running third to Chautauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) before winning the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) over Black Heart Bart during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’.
First-up she ran two lengths away fifth to Takedown as the beaten favourite in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m), but the bookies are taking no chances with her again this weekend.
She is tipped to improve second-up and relish the extra metres of the Premiere Stakes at a track she has a 50% winning strike rate at (6-3-0-1).
English sits equal first on the Premier Stakes ballot order along with the Robert Smerdon-trained Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) winning from the winter Under The Louvre.
A six-year-old son of Excellent Art, the stallion has had two Melbourne runs this time in including a last start fourth at Flemington in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m).
Under The Louvre is yet to race in Sydney and could still bypass a run at Randwick on Saturday having also been nominated for the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight on Sunday.
He is currently the equal $7 second elect in pre-field Premiere Stakes betting along with Southern Legend from the local stables of Les Bridge.
A four-year-old son of Not A Single Doubt, Southern Legend has won four of his seven career starts to date.
After a first-up 1000m Randwick win in a Benchmark 875 on August 20 under 60kg from barrier 13 of 13, the gelding was last seen stepping up in class at Rosehill on September 10 for his brave third when under a length off the winner Mackintosh in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).
Last year’s Premiere Stakes winner Terravista was prepared by Joe Pride who is back chasing successive wins with Ball Of Muscle.
The 1200m specialist (6-3-2-1) comes off a first-up second in The Shorts and will relish stepping up to his pet distance at a track he also has plenty of form at (6-2-2-1).
Ball Of Muscle may not run in Sydney on Saturday however having been nominated for a Friday night run against the superstars in Moonee Valley’s Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m), a feature he placed second to Buffering in 12 months ago.
Terravista (2015) won the Premiere Stakes first-up and one of the top first-up hopes among the nominations this season is the Team Hawkes-trained Our Boy Malachi.
A veteran eight-year-old, the Top Echelon gelding is after his first win since the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) that he won by three lengths on January 30 at Rosehill during the summer.
He races for the first time since his fourth to stablemate Chautauqua, who returns in the 2016 Moir Stakes on Friday evening, in the TJ Smith Stakes on April 2.
Other notable nominees include the Hawkes Racing-trained The Shorts third placegetter Kaepernick and winner of that Group 2 lead-up Takedown.
The full Premiere Stakes 2016 nominations are listed below, the field and updated odds from Ladbrokes.com.au set for release on Wednesday.
2016 Premiere Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 01/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||264x321x24||UNDER THE LOUVRE||H||6||Robert Smerdon||1=||58.5kg||110|
|2||126x1631x5||ENGLISH||M||4||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||1=||56.5kg||110|
|3||1x130x154x||OUR BOY MALACHI||G||8||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||3||58.5kg||108|
|4||x3223x68x2||BALL OF MUSCLE||G||6||Joseph Pride||4=||58.5kg||106|
|5||354094×236||REBEL DANE||H||7||Gary Portelli||4=||58.5kg||106|
|8||61x0007x83||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||G||8||Noel Mayfield-Smith||8=||58.5kg||104|
|9||23121x377x||GOOD PROJECT||H||5||Chris Waller||8=||58.5kg||104|
|10||62x70x7187||SMART VOLATILITY||G||8||John Sargent||8=||58.5kg||104|
|11||x52311118x||DANISH TWIST||M||5||Kris Lees||11||56.5kg||102|
|12||3415370×58||BOSS LANE||G||6||Ron Quinton||12=||58.5kg||101|
|14||x0130x10x3||KAEPERNICK||G||5||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||12=||58.5kg||101|
|15||45x111x13||SOUTHERN LEGEND||G||4||Les Bridge||15||58.5kg||96|
|16||x6211111x6||CLEARLY INNOCENT||G||5||Greg Bennett||16=||58.5kg||95|
|18||111||RUSSIAN REVOLUTION||C||3||Peter & Paul Snowden||18||53kg||79|