The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Last weekend’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes runner-up Celebrity Queen returns to Ascot Racecourse on the quick back-up on Saturday jumping favourite against an easier class of rivals in the A.J. Scahill Stakes 2020.
The key support act on the Kingston Town Classic Day card in Perth, this year’s Group 3 $200,000 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) field features 11 runners dominated by the $2 top elect at Ladbrokes.com.au Celebrity Queen.
Prepared by Grant & Alana Williams, the in-form daughter of Redoute’s Choice has won four of her past six starts including the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) two back on November 14.
She then ran a devastatingly close second behind shock 30/1 winner Elite Street in last Saturday’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and drops back to Group 3 level on the seven-day turnaround here.
The gun four-year-old presents rock hard fit and in excellent form this Perth Summer Racing Carnival with the brilliant William Pike aboard, but the A.J. Scahill is her first look at the 1400m and how she handles the distance will be key to her chances of saluting for the punters.
Two horses occupy the second line of A.J. Scahill Stakes betting at $6 each with Flirtini for Simon Miller and the Godolphin-raced Kementari drawn in barriers three and 10 respectively.
It has been a while between drinks for Artie Schiller mare Flirtini who hasn’t won a race since last November’s Colonel Reeves.
She backed-up from that for a Winterbottom fifth in 2019 and then ran sixth in this event 12 months ago.
First-up in this year’s Colonel Reeves Flirtini only managed to run 10th on a Heavy (8), but she looked better when fifth at 50/1 in the Winterbottom last Saturday from the outside barrier (15) and presents a better shot here from a good gate.
The James Cummings-trained Kementari meanwhile has his third straight run at the track as part of the Lonhro six-year-old’s raid on the West coast.
Punters have to look back to March of 2018 to find the galloper’s last victory when he took out the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in Sydney as a three-year-old, but he’s placed in plenty of elite level races since.
His form in WA has been solid with a third to Kay Cee in the Group 2 Lee Steere before his midfield eighth in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) a fortnight back and he presents a livewire top three chance here.
The last of the single-figure hopefuls in the latest A.J. Scahill Stakes odds at $8.50 is Flirtni’s stablemate Valour Road in gate six and looking to atone for the disappointing 14th in the Winterbottom.
2020 A.J. Scahill Stakes Field & Barriers
|Simon A Miller
|Chris & Michael Gangemi
|Ms Jade McNaught
|Sean & Jake Casey
|Simon A Miller
|Grant & Alana Williams
|Simon A Miller
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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