Trainer Ciaron Maher is looking to step his...
Darren Weir’s The Everest placegetter Brave Smash headlines the Australia Stakes 2018 nominations for the Australia Day racing feature at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) have extended nominations for this season’s Group 2 $200,000 Australia Stakes (1200m) until Tuesday after just nine early entries for the weight-for-age sprint were taken.
Of the current nominees, one of the standouts in line for a big Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival is Tosen Phantom entire Brave Smash.
Placed in all four of his career starts down under starting from August last year, the progressive five-year-old was last seen finishing just a length back third to Redzel in Sydney’s $10 million The Everest (1200m) in mid-October as a $19 roughie.
Plenty of autumn Group 1s will be calling this prep for the former Japanese galloper, but first he will look for a fresh win at The Valley in the Australia Stakes.
Moonee Valley is where Brave Smash broke his maiden status in Australia with success in the Listed Chandler Macleod (1200m) second-up last September.
Ace Victorian trainer Weir has a trio of Australia Stakes nominees with Brave Smash joined in the possible line-up by last start winners Ken’s Dream and Stellar Collision.
Four-year-old Dream Ahead gelding Ken’s Dream comes off a January 13 victory over 1100m at Flemington, which he dominated by two and a half lengths.
If accepted into the Australia Stakes field, Friday will be his sixth start at The Valley where he has enjoyed a previous win and two seconds.
Stellar Collision meanwhile is set to race for the first time in a month, the Star Witness five-year-old last seen scoring an upset in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) on a Firm (2) Caulfield track on Boxing Day.
High up the ratings are then the Chris Crook & Imogen Miller-trained Tshahitsi and Team Snowden’s gun mare Flippant both second-up for the summer.
Clangalang six-year-old Tshahitsi from Tasmania is yet to race at Moonee Valley, but is a black-type winner at Flemington from the winter and resumed on New Year’s Day with a close fourth to Lord Of The Sky in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m).
Flippant, a five-year-old daughter of Hinchinbrook, also comes via Flemington’s Standish Handicap when narrowly defeated for second first-up.
Other notable Australia Stakes nominees for the under-the-lights feature include Anthony Freedman’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes runner-up Mr Sneaky and the progressive Lindsay Park-trained Snitzel four-year-old Thronum.
Thronum hasn’t raced since his quarter-length third to mudlark Jungle Edge in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown in November, but has been working tremendously according to co-trainer Tom Dabernig.
“In his jump-outs at home he’s airborne,” Dabernig told the Herald Sun.
“He’s fit as he’s stayed in work the whole time.
“He’s a stallion by Snitzel and if he runs well on Friday night there are a lot of good options for him.”
The Australia Stakes 2018 field is set for release on Wednesday followed by updated markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 Australia Stakes Nominations
Moonee Valley Racecourse – 26/01/2018
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x344x2123x||BRAVE SMASH (JPN)||H||5||Darren Weir||–|
|2||1122217232||CHAMOIS ROAD||G||5||Patrick Payne||94|
|3||0533x536x2||FLIPPANT||M||5||Peter & Paul Snowden||101|
|4||1275537×51||KEN’S DREAM||G||4||Darren Weir||90|
|5||3311x1220x||MR SNEAKY||G||4||Anthony Freedman||99|
|6||4110208×61||STELLAR COLLISION||G||5||Darren Weir||95|
|7||121306x13x||THRONUM||H||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||88|
|8||8x591131x4||TSHAHITSI||G||6||Chris Crook & Imogen Miller||102|
|9||0x6822063x||WYNDSPELLE (NZ)||H||4||Michael Kent||98|
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