A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
Ultra-consistent four-year-old Variation heads the AJ Scahill Stakes 2017 field at Ascot Racecourse on the weekend in the latest Perth Summer Racing Carnival feature.
Set to run as Race 7 on Saturday afternoon in W.A., this season’s Group 3 $250,000 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) has attracted a diminutive but quality field of nine weight-for-age hopefuls.
Drawn gate six with Brad Parnham retaining the ride is War Chant four-year-old Variation coming off a string of good runs this campaign.
He finished second and third respectively in November’s Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) and Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) before rising in grade last time out.
On November 25 Variation took on the season’s best in the Group 1 $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) and in an outstanding run finished just three-quarters of a length back fourth.
He comes up from 53kg in that handicap feature to 59kg at WFA in the AJ Scahill Stakes field, but dropping in both class and distance presents as a huge danger.
Chasing his first win since a black-type over 2000m at Belmont in early July, Variation is set to head east for a Melbourne Festival of Racing bid in the autumn before returning home next summer targeting another shot at the Railway Stakes in 2018.
Karnup horseman Adam Durrant has a two-horse contingent in the AJ Scahill Stakes this season including the sole last-start winner in the mix, Zuccheros.
Getting the inside run from barrier one with Daniel Staeck riding, the veteran Hurricane Sky eight-year-old improved on a string of unplaced sprint performances this time in to win the Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m) on Railway Stakes Day.
Durrant keeps Zuccheros to the same track / distance for the weekend and also has Silverstream in the mix.
In flying form earlier this prep, the Al Maher mare enjoyed back-to-back spring wins at the Ascot track in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m).
She then was tested over the mile in the Railway Stakes but had no luck from the outside barrier (16 of 16) and could only manage to finish 13th to the upset winner Great Shot.
The six-year-old will relish the drop back to 1400m, which she boasts three wins from four starts over, and in a much smaller field Silverstream is a chance to bounce back to winning form.
Bringing in similar form having won two on the trot before a Group 1 loss last time out is the Grant & Alana Williams-trained Nicconi five-year-old State Solicitor.
His latest victory was on November 18 in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m), but he finished a disappointing eighth as the beaten favourite in the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) next-up on December 2.
State Solicitor gets the chance to atone on the weekend, but is yet to have a start over the 1400m making the distance the challenge.
Better in the Winterbottom Stakes, won by Adelaide-trained mare Viddora, and backing-up in the AJ Scahill Stakes is the Peter & Matthew Giadresco-trained fourth-placegetter Profit Street.
He finished under three lengths away in the elite level sprint as a $21 outsider and is sure to be shorter in betting for the weekend despite drawing the outside barrier.
Other notable hopes include the Alan Mathews-trained Carbine Club of WA Stakes runner-up Django, third in the same lead-up race Properantes in gate three and Darren Weir’s raider Ulmann to be ridden by Brad Rawiller.
See below for the full A.J. Scahill Stakes 2017 field, barriers and jockeys with Perth racing odds on the Group 3 to be released shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 AJ Scahill Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Ascot Race 7 – 16/12/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11511×3234||VARIATION||Stephen Miller||Brad Parnham||6||59kg||93|
|2||6x130x6148||ULMANN||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||8||59kg||105|
|3||x651007113||PROPERANTES||Colin Webster||Troy Turner||3||59kg||92|
|4||9x39x80x66||MR UTOPIA||Steve Wolfe||Shaun Mc Gruddy||2||59kg||90|
|5||233112×244||PROFIT STREET||Peter & Matthew Giadresco||Jarrad Noske||9||59kg||–|
|6||116x61x118||STATE SOLICITOR||Grant & Alana Williams||Chris Parnham||7||59kg||–|
|7||9483×36661||ZUCCHEROS||Adam Durrant||Daniel Staeck||1||59kg||92|
|8||1x58777x02||DJANGO||Alan Mathews||Patrick Carbery||4||59kg||86|
|9||90122×2110||SILVERSTREAM||Adam Durrant||Clint Johnston-Porter (a)||5||57kg||103|
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