Darren Weir’s returning Group 1 champ Flamberge is the top-rated nomination taken for the Schillaci Stakes 2016 on the Caulfield Guineas Day card in Melbourne on Saturday.
One of the key support acts on the line-up, this season’s $400,000 Group 2 Mitsubishi Electric Schillaci Stakes (1100m) attracted 16 sprinters at nomination stage on Monday.
Heading the line-up for the weight-for-age showdown is Exceed And Excel seven-year-old Flamberge who is a triple Group 1 winner.
In the autumn he completed the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) – Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) double, but was well beaten in his two subsequent runs.
He hasn’t raced since a 14th behind Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 21 in Adelaide, an event he won the previous year, but Flamberge flies first-up (7-4-2-1) and has strong form over the track / distance (6-3-1-1).
At $9 the $1.7 million earner is also one of four single-figure hopes in the pre-field Schillaci Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, futures markets led by Star Turn ($3.20).
Taking on the older horses and getting the weight relief on 53kg, the Team Hawkes-trained Star Witness colt Star Turn is third-up for the season.
He resumed on August 13 at Rosehill and scored the upset win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m), with Golden Slipper winner Capitalist placed fourth, and finished just a neck away second to subsequent Golden Rose winner Astern next start in the Group 2 Run To the Rose (1200m).
Freshened-up after that, Star Turn is set for a big run dropping back in distance in the Schillaci Stakes sound the team pay the final acceptance fee on Wednesday.
Just one nominee comes off a win with the Shea Eden-trained Ocean Embers after her third win on the trot.
The four-year-old Beneteau mare is undefeated at Caulfield boasting three wins from as many starts at the track, including her August 27 win in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m).
The only other mares in the mix are the John Salanitri-trained Robert Sangster Stakes third placegetter from the winter I Love It and Sheidel for the Lindsay Park stable.
The equal highest rated entry along with Flamberge is the Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman-trained Turn Me Loose who hasn’t raced since suffering an injury post his 14th (of 15 runners) behind Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 2.
He has Group 1 winning form at the Caulfield track in the Futurity Stakes (1400m) back in late February, and also won the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) over the Flemington mile last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
A five-year-old Iffraaj stallion, Turn Me Loose is yet to race over 1100m and whether or not the distance is too sharp for the Kiwi visitor is key to his chances.
Following Star Turn in the all-in Schillaci Stakes markets meanwhile are Matthew Dale’s TJ Smith Stakes runner-up from the autumn behind Chautauqua Fell Swoop ($6) and BTC Cup winner Malaguerra ($7).
Other notable hopes including Chris Waller’s reigning Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme, the Phillip Stokes-trained Hucklebuck coming off a close first-up fourth at the track and the John O’Shea-trained McEwen Stakes runner-up to Wild Rain last start Furnaces.
See below for the complete Schillaci Stakes 2016 nominations then head to Ladbrokes.com.au for access to the best all-in betting on the weekend’s feature races.
2016 Schillaci Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 08/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|2||2111x4160x||TURN ME LOOSE (NZ)||H||5||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||2||58.5kg||114|
|5||11x242156x||FELL SWOOP||G||5||Matthew Dale||5||58.5kg||108|
|6||13x73525x4||DOTHRAKI||G||6||Peter & Paul Snowden||6||58.5kg||106|
|9||546x21x30x||I LOVE IT||M||6||John Salanitri||9||56.5kg||97|
|10||31x256x12||STAR TURN||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||10||53kg||92|
|11||156×1211||OCEAN EMBERS||M||4||Shea Eden||11||56.5kg||95|
|12||1x34127x42||SHEIDEL||M||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||12||56.5kg||102|
|13||x476x12138||THE MONSTAR||G||6||Brett Cavanough||13||58.5kg||97|
|15||x460347972||TADDEI TONDO||G||7||Gerard Moloney||15||58.5kg||88|