A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
It is a wide open edition of the A.J. Scahill Stakes 2017 in Perth this weekend with four of the nine horses in the mix battling for top spot in betting for the Ascot clash.
Running as Ascot Race 7 as the penultimate race on the latest Perth Summer Racing Carnival card, the small field for this season’s Group 3 $250,000 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) is led by the Stephen Miller-trained Variation.
Drawn in gate six with Brad Parnham in the saddle once again, the War Chant four-year-old is down in class and distance after a brave fourth when just three-quarters of a length off the winner in the Group 1 $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m).
Plans for Variation next year are to gear him up for a shot at the 2018 Railway Stakes via a Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival bid, but first he chases his maiden victory this campaign in the AJ Scahill Stakes.
The latest AJ Scahill Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au list the consistent galloper, who has an ace record at the Ascot track of four wins and three other minor placings from eight starts, as the $3.30 favourite and firming.
There are three other weight-for-age hopefuls hot on the heels of Variation in AJ Scahill Stakes betting this summer including equal $4.40 second elects Ulmann and State Solicitor.
Victoria’s Darren Weir saddles-up the Melbourne raider Ulmann from barrier eight with Brad Rawiller booked to ride the Sebring six-year-old.
Three back on Caulfield Cup Day Ulmann enjoyed a win in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) before a Flemington fourth in the Group 3 Chatham Stakes (1400m) and the last start eight in the Railway Stakes.
He will be better suited dropping back to his pet distance of 1400m on Saturday (19:5-3-2) and now has Perth race experience on his side.
State Solicitor represents Grant & Alana Williams and is set to jump from barrier seven with Chris Parnham coming aboard for the suspended William Pike.
Nicconi five-year-old State Solicitor has won four of his previous seven Ascot starts including his back-to-back wins earlier this time in.
Two back he saluted as the odds-on favourite in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) before he finished a disappointing eighth in the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on December 2.
Saturday’s race is an easier assignment for the track specialist, but State Solicitor will need to be at his best still chasing his first 1400m win.
The other big danger according to the bookies is Profit Street ($5) in the outside alley with Jarrad Noske partnering the ultra-consistent Viscount six-year-old.
Chasing his first win since the Listed H.G. Bolton Sprint (1200m) on a wet Belmont track back in July, Profit Street has been racing consistently all campaign including his Winterbottom Stakes fourth when under three lengths beaten by the winner Viddora as a $21 outsider.
Also at single-figures paying $7.50 is Silverstream, Adam Durrant’s Al Maher mare a genuine danger looking to atone for her luckless 13th in the Railway Stakes from the outside barrier (16 of 16).
A winner of three of her four starts over the AJ Scahill Stakes distance, Silverstream won her two lead-up runs into the Group 1 including defeating the subsequent Railway Stakes winner Great Shot in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) over her preferred distance from a good gate.
2017 AJ Scahill Stakes Odds
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