The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Blue Diamond Stakes winner Tagaloa will return to the scene of his biggest career win when kicking off a Caulfield Guineas – Cox Plate campaign in Saturday’s HDF McNeil Stakes 2020.
The Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Lord Kanaloa colt is the headline acceptor in the Group 3 $160,000 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield this weekend, Tagaloa drawn barrier eight with his regular hoop Michael Walker to ride.
The race originally drew 16 starters but Busuttin & Young opted to scratch Albarado (12) but are still dually represented by the favourite along with Brazen Beau colt Larimer Street who returned with a first-up fifth at the track in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) a fortnight back.
At set weights plus penalties, Tagaloa carries the 59.5kg top weight as a Group 1 winner but is being kept safe in HDF McNeil Stakes betting at $3.70 and firming through Ladbrokes.com.au.
In February he took out the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at a roughie’s price before heading to Sydney for two further starts in his juvenile campaign.
At Randwick he ran second to Farnan in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) before a fourth behind that same horse in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last time out.
Tagaloa should appreciate returning to Caulfield and, from the barrier with the blinkers going on the first time, should settle just off the speed before finishing strongly on way to tougher Group 1 targets over further this spring.
Three other runners are currently at single-figures in the HDF McNeil Stakes odds including the $7 second elect Immortal Love drawn a treat in barrier four for jockey Craig Newitt.
The undefeated Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained Snitzel gelding is two-from-two to date and faces a notable class rise in the Group 3 event.
His last start on May 23 produced an eye-catching 3.5 length victory over 1400m at Flemington on a Heavy (8) carrying 58kg and he should be flying first-up coming back in weight at Caulfield.
The stable is also represented by the widely-drawn duo of Our Playboy coming into barrier 14 with Ben Melham booked for the ride aboard the in-form son of Sebring and Snitzel colt National Choice ($12) drawn one closer to the rails.
Our Playboy took his record up to three wins from five starts first-up at the track on August 15 when, after having secured back-to-back 1000m wins in easier grade back in April, he took out the Vain Stakes at double-figures.
He presents fit second-up in the HDF McNeil Stakes, but has work to do from the wide draw going up in weight.
National Choice meanwhile has Michael Dee aboard for his first-up run of the new season, the up-and-comer racing in Black-Type company for the first time following a winning debut at Geelong in April and a last start third at Caulfield on May 9 carrying a hefty 60.5kg
Rounding out the hopes under $10 to upset the class horse in the race Tagaloa is the consistent Danny O’Brien-trained Flying Award.
The Shamus Award colt was last seen breaking his maiden status at career start number three at Flemington taking out the Listed ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m).
2020 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes Field
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||31x4124x||TAGALOA||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Michael Walker||8||59.5kg||102|
|2||1x0x1||HARD LANDING||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||Craig Williams||11||58.5kg||80|
|3||6x611x1||OUR PLAYBOY||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Ben Melham||15||58.5kg||82|
|4||2x271x8||EXTRA TIME||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Jamie Kah||13||58.5kg||72|
|5||23210×5||LARIMER STREET||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Michael Rodd||5||58kg||79|
|6||7216370x||RATHLIN||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jye McNeil||3||58kg||73|
|7||221x||FLYING AWARD||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||6||58kg||72|
|8||9112x||KHOEKHOE||Matt Cumani||Fred W Kersley||7||57kg||72|
|9||11x||CROSSHAVEN||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||Daniel Stackhouse||2||57kg||69|
|10||11x||IMMORTAL LOVE||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Craig Newitt||4||57kg||70|
|11||23×2||RANTING (NZ)||Leon & Troy Corstens||Dwayne Dunn||10||57kg||70|
|12||12x||ALBARADO (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Jordan Childs||12||57kg||65|
|13||6314x||THE LAST CHARGE||Kevin Corstens||Beau Mertens||9||57kg||65|
|14||13x||NATIONAL CHOICE||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Michael Dee||14||57kg||64|
|15||1×4||BRANDERS RULE||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||16||57kg||64|
|16||1||LOCA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Damian Lane||1||57kg||63|
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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