Cabeza De Vaca Leads 2017 Festival Stakes Field

November 29, 2017

Cabeza De Vaca Leads 2017 Festival Stakes Field

The in-form Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Cabeza De Vaca will face 10 rivals in Saturday’s Festival Stakes 2017 field when the tough gelding looks to extend his winning streak to six straight.

Cabeza De Vaca

November Handicap winner Cabeza De Vaca chases win number six on the trot in Saturday’s 2017 Festival Stakes at Rosehill Gardens. Photo: Steve Hart.

A key Sydney Summer Racing Carnival feature, this year’s Group 3 $150,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) is set to run as Rosehill Race 7 at 4:20pm (AEDT) on Saturday afternoon.

The field and likely Festival Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Northern Meteor gelding Cabeza De Vaca who made it five on the trot after running his rivals to the ground at the track on November 18 in the November Handicap (1400m).

Saturday is a rise in grade for the flying galloper, but he is tipped to continue the stunning runoff form from barrier seven with apprentice Rachel King continuing her association.

Waterhouse & Bott chases back-to-back wins in the Festival Stakes after the success of Sweet Redemption in 2016 and also have the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 16 scheduled this summer with Cabeza De Vaca.

The only other last start winner in this year’s Festival Stakes field is the James Cummings-trained Moher, one of two Godolphin gallopers in the mix.

Joshua Parr is booked to ride the son of Lonhro from barrier 10 on the weekend replacing Damian Lane who was aboard for the gelding’s last start Flemington win over 1400m on Emirates Stakes Day.

Moher is joined in the line-up by stablemate Federal who was one of the big winners at the Festival Stakes barrier draw with gate three.

It has been a long time between drinks for Federal who hasn’t won since March of 2016, but his last start third to Cabeza De Vaca in the November Handicap was promising.

Cabeza De Vaca comes up from 54kg that run to 57kg on Saturday, while fellow six-year-old Federal comes down from 57.5kg to 55.5kg so gets the weight advantage in the remix on the weekend.

Also coming off a good lead-up run into the Festival Stakes is the Fred Cowell-trained Mighty Lucky drawn gate two with Chris O’Brien aboard the evergreen eight-year-old.

Mighty Lucky was last seen running fourth in the Listed Ladies Day Cup (1400m) at Hawkesbury on November 9 and chases a second Festival Stakes success after saluting back in 2015.

He also ran back-to-back seconds in Sydney earlier this spring, including behind Washington Heights in Rosehill’s Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) over the same track / distance he returns to for the Festival Stakes.

The Gerald Ryan-trained Red Excitement leads the Festival Stakes weights with 59.5kg, the son of Excites coming off a November Handicap fifth and looking for his first win since the Gosford Cup back in January.

Third in the Festival Stakes last year, Red Excitement’s big run this prep was giving Winx something to run down when second in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) back in September and the galloper comes back in weight from the hefty 62kg he carted last time out.

Chris Waller meanwhile has accepted for three hopefuls with the rails-drawn Group 1 winner Japonisme (58.5kg), Good Project (57.5kg) to be ridden by Blake Shinn from gate six and the imported Mister Sea Wolf (54.kg) drawn well in four.

Check out the full Festival Stakes 2017 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below with betting to open shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.

2017 Festival Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw

Rosehill Race 7 (4:20pm) – 02/12/2017

# Form (Last 5) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp. Rating
1 27805 RED EXCITEMENT Gerald Ryan Brenton Avdulla 11 59.5kg 105
2 0x786 JAPONISME Chris Waller Glyn Schofield 1 58.5kg 103
3 5×690 GOOD PROJECT Chris Waller Blake Shinn 6 57.5kg 101
4 11×11 CABEZA DE VACA Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Ms Rachel King (a) 7 57kg 100
5 72274 MIGHTY LUCKY Fred Cowell Chris O’Brien 2 57kg 100
6 030×7 TESTASHADOW Gary Portelli TBA 5 57kg 100
7 3×001 MOHER James Cummings Joshua Parr 10 56kg 98
8 73×53 FEDERAL James Cummings Tye Angland 3 55.5kg 97
9 x128x MISTER SEA WOLF (IRE) Chris Waller Tim Clark 4 54.5kg 95
10 41×06 SALSONIC Jason Coyle TBA 8 53kg 89
11 x2137 CHALK Wendy Roche Andrew Adkins (a) 9 53kg 69

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