The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Godolphin-raced Group 1 winner Kementari suffered an early blow in his bid to return to winning form with the galloper drawing wide out in barrier 13 of 16 for Saturday’s Victory Stakes 2020 in Brisbane.
A smart 16-horse field faces off in this season’s Group 2 $175,000 Victory Stakes (1200m) taking place later than it’s traditional April timeslot and running at Eagle Farm as a set weights plus penalties event (usually weight-for-age) this weekend as part of a reduced Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
One of those is the James Cummings-trained equal topweight Kementari, the Lonhro five-year-old racing fourth-up off a year long break and chasing his first victory since the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in March of 2018.
He may have work to do from out in barrier 13, but the bookies are taking no chances on the $1.9 million earner with Kementari at Victory Stakes odds of $5 on the back of his brave lead-up run at Doomben.
A multiple Group 1 placegetter since taking out the Randwick Guineas as a three-year-old, the horse was last seen running only a length back fifth in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1200m) and on Saturday comes back from 61kg to 58kg.
Sitting just ahead of Kementari as the narrow $4.60 Victory Stakes favourite this season is the Tony Gollan-trained local Vega One drawn well midfield in barrier nine.
Veteran hoop Jim Byrne partners the progressive Lope De Vega four-year-old for the first time on the weekend replacing apprentice Baylee Nothdurft who has ridden Vega One for the horse’s two lead-up fourths this prep.
Winner of the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast in January, Vega One carried a big weight (62kg) when only a length beaten fresh at the Sunshine Coast on ANZAC Day before the nice fourth in the BRC Sprint.
He is two-from-three at the Eagle Farm track and presents fit third-up for his Group 2 test.
Stablemate Outback Barbie is the $6.50 third elect to win the Victory Stakes despite her Eagle Farm hoodoo, Gollan’s Magic Millions QTIS winning Spirt Of Boom mare chasing her first top three finish at start number five at the track.
She too is a BRC Sprint graduate when three-quarters back third first-up with Byrne aboard and in a jockey-swap will be ridden by Nothdurft with just 54.5kg in the Victory Stakes fitter for her last start.
Early Victory Stakes market mover Deep Image ($8.50) rounds out the single-figure fancies in gate 12 for trainer Robert Heathcote, while the BRC Sprint winner Tambo’s Mate rising in weight to 57kg is at $14 to do the double.
“We will meet just about every runner in Saturday’s race better at the weights in the Stradbroke,” Tambo’s Mate’s trainer Stuart Kendrick told AAP speaking of the horse’s 51kg light weight for the Group 1 next month.
“If he runs well on Saturday it will give us real confidence for the Stradbroke.
“My bloke is unbeaten at 1200m at Eagle Farm and hopefully the track will play truly for its return on Saturday.”
The Victory Stakes winner earns a ballot free ride into the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) back at the track on June 6 and six in the field need to win to make the Stradbroke field including Deep Image (34th on the ballot).
2020 Victory Stakes Field & Barriers
|Form (Last 10)
|Toby & Trent Edmonds
|CHAPTER AND VERSE
|Mark Du Plessis
|Peter & Paul Snowden
|Ms Stephanie Thornton
|Toby & Trent Edmonds
|FREDDIE FOX TROT
|Baylee Nothdurft (a)
|FREE OF DEBT
|Justin Huxtable (a)
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