The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
In-form jockey-trainer combination Nash Rawiller and Gai Waterhouse will look to continue their purple patch during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and take out the Doncaster Mile 2012 at Royal Randwick on Saturday with glamour mare More Joyous.
Over the past three weeks it has been a blitz for Rawiller and Waterhouse in the autumn majors including wins in the Rosehill Guineas with Laser Hawk on March 31, followed by the Group 1 double of the Queen Of The Turf Stakes with More Joyous and the iconic Golden Slipper with Pierro on April 7.
Last Saturday it continued with Pierro backing up to score an upset Inglis Sires Produce Stakes success.
This weekend they are back with Queen Of The Turf Stakes champion More Joyous who will shoot for her incredible seventh Group 1 title in the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m).
In a nice coincidence Waterhouse also shoots for a seven-win milestone having prepared six previous Doncaster Mile winners over the years, success on Saturday to see her equal the record set by her father Tommy Smith.
More Than Ready five-year-old More Joyous, a winner of 17 of her 24 starts to date for over $2.7 million in prize money, is unbeaten this time in having taken out the Canterbury Stakes first-up over 1300m before her Queen of the Turf triumph over 1500-metres.
More Joyous suffered a career worst defeat in last year’s Doncaster when she came off a three length Queen Of The Turf Stakes win to finish 11th behind Sacred Choice on a Heavy (10) track, after which she spent over five months on the sidelines.
Waterhouse is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself on Saturday as is the mare’s regular rider Rawiller.
Rawiller has been aboard More Joyous for 20 of her 24 starts to date including six of her seven thoroughbred majors.
More Joyous is the clear cut favourite in the latest Doncaster Mile odds through bookmaker.com.au at a quote of $5.50, her third-up record one to be recognised as she has won four of her five attempts.
Two of those third-up victories were Group 1’s with the 2009 Flight Stakes and the 2010 George Main Stakes both over the Randwick mile.
In fact her only third-up defeat was her seventh behind Hurtle Myrtle in the Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington last Derby Day, Rawiller confident it won’t happen again like that.
“She wasn’t right in the spring,” Rawiller said.
“She has had a good spell and I can’t fault her.
“If anything she is stronger than before.
“I can’t say she hasn’t been better because, look at her record, she has been an amazing mare but the thing about the Doncaster this year she goes into it as her third run, and I don’t think she has peaked yet.
“Both her wins (this season) have been very strong, and she gives me the feeling that she has more to offer.”
Her main dangers are seen as Grahame Begg’s Group 1 winner Secret Admirer ($7) last seen running a close third in the George Ryder Stakes, and recent Chipping Norton Stakes champ Shoot Out ($8) who is one of five possible runners for Chris Waller.
If she is crowned the 2012 Doncaster Mile winner More Joyous could bow out of racing, the Doncaster possibly her swansong race.
“She deserves it,” Rawiller said of a Doncaster Mile victory for More Joyous.
“She has been such a great mare and Sydney’s favourite horse for a couple of years.
“There are a lot of good mares around but she is my favourite.”
Waterhouse’s other Doncaster hopes this year are her Ajax Stakes winner Niagara and Fast Clip coming off a Doncaster Prelude win from last Saturday, the duo paying $15 and $34 respectively.
The official 2012 Doncaster Mile field and barriers will be released on Tuesday with the Races.com.au team to publish the full list of acceptances and gates.
Don’t wait until race day to Place Your Bets at bookmaker.com.au as right now punters have a final chance to lock in the juicy futures Doncaster Mile prices!
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