Twenty-four three-year-olds have been included in nominations for Saturday’s 2016 Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m), including several previous winners at the highest level of Australian racing.
Sacred Elixir was unable to overcome a tough run in transit when eight in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) a fortnight ago, but will be given the opportunity to atone on Saturday after being included in Moonee Valley Vase nominations.
Ending his debut campaign sixth in the Listed Karaka Millions (1200m) in his native New Zealand on January 24th, Sacred Elixir debuted to Australia for an impressive win in the Bundaberg Rum Handicap (1400m) at Caloundra on May 11th.
Progressing to sixth in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) on May 28th, the Pour Moi gelding charged home to beat a number of talented runners to the line in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 11th.
Having returned this time for success in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 24th, Sacred Elixir appears as though he will relish a step up in distance on Saturday.
Prized Icon was a standout for James Cummings in autumn and carries typically strong form into the Moonee Valley Vase.
Failing to finish outside the first three through six autumn starts, the More Than Ready colt broke through for a maiden race win in the Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) before repeating the dose in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) only one week later.
Resuming this time for fourth in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) on August 20th, Cummings elected to throw Prized Icon in the deep end amongst open company in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) on September 3rd, but the colt failed to make an impact or beat a runner home.
Having since finished third in each of the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), Prized Icon will have his first look at the Melbourne way of going in the Moonee Valley Vase, but undoubtedly has the class to figure in the dying stages of the race.
Seaburge ran an agonizingly-close second in the Caulfield Guineas a fortnight ago and should prove tough to beat in the Moonee Valley Vase.
Winner of the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) most notably in autumn, Seaburge resumed this time for fourth in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) on August 27th.
Placing fifth in the Listed Express Room Stakes (1400m) and fourth in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, the Sebring colt’s standout performance last start suggests he is the horse to beat in the pending Moonee Valley Vase field.
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2016 Moonee Valley Vase Nominations
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||6135902||BACK TO THE BOWLER||G||3||Stuart Webb||63|
|3||3×6115||HARLOW GOLD (NZ)||F||3||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||72|
|8||43×54||NINA PEAK||F||3||Robbie Laing||59|
|9||7×44||NORTHERN CAPTAIN||G||3||Mick Price||–|
|10||44×4211||PRETTY PUNK||F||3||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||74|
|11||23211×4633||PRIZED ICON||C||3||James Cummings||88|
|13||216x161x18||SACRED ELIXIR (NZ)||G||3||Tony Pike||99|
|14||0431||SAYONARAMOSA (NZ)||G||3||Ciaron Maher||62|
|15||1216×4542||SEABURGE||C||3||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||102|
|16||0954||SHINE TAK STAR||G||3||John Sargent||52|
|18||33×523||SMART AS YOU THINK||F||3||John McArdle||67|
|19||26×165||SO SI BON||C||3||Robbie Laing||72|
|23||1x1111x273||WHISPERING BROOK||F||3||Simon A Miller||92|