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Mornington horseman Shane Nichols has confirmed a title defence in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes this autumn for his honest galloper Streets Of Avalon after the horse took out the opening Victorian Group 2 race of the season in the 2021 Australia Stakes on Friday night.
The six-year-old son of Magnus celebrated his ninth victory at his 53rd career start and continued a strong record at the iconic Moonee Valley track with a dominant victory under the lights in this year’s Group 2 $200,000 Ladbrokes Australia Stakes (1200m).
Breaking his first-up hoodoo, Streets Of Avalon ($4.80) won fresh for the first time, putting one and three-quarter lengths on the beaten odds-on favourite Viridine ($1.75) in the weight-for-age event that featured just six starters.
Third, just a neck further back to round out the Australia Stakes trifecta, was Tavisan ($5) ridden by the metropolitan jockeys’ premiership leader Jamie Kah.
The Australia Stakes result was a memorable one for young 24-year-old jockey Zac Spain who celebrated his maiden Group 2 success aboard Streets Of Avalon.
It continued a nice association between horse and hoop as Streets Of Avalon also provided Spain his first Black-Type win back in the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington in March of 2019.
“The ownership group has been extremely loyal to me with this horse. People probably had doubts about him after his spring campaign, but he loves Moonee Valley,” Spain told the media post-win.
“It’s a massive thrill. Racing is all about opportunities and when you get them you need to try and grab them with both hands.
“I won a couple of stakes races in Adelaide as well, but this is my first Group 2.”
Streets Of Avalon is best known for his surprise double-figures win in last year’s Group 1 $500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) over Super Seth, and Nichols was thrilled to have his stable ace back in the winners’ stall on Friday night.
It was the ideal campaign kick-off for Streets Of Avalon who heads towards another Futurity Stakes run at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 20.
All-in Futurity Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by the likes of star WA-trained mare Arcadia Queen ($6) and the spring’s Memsie Stakes – Sir Rupert Clarke double winner Behemoth ($6).
Streets Of Avalon meanwhile is into $11 in futures Futurity Stakes betting to become the first back-to-back champion since Niconero (2008-09).
2021 Australia Stakes Results
|1||1||STREETS OF AVALON||Shane Nichols||Zac Spain||4||58.5kg||$4.80|
|2||3||VIRIDINE||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||1.75L||3||58.5kg||$1.75F|
|3||5||TAVISAN (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Ms Jamie Kah||1.95L||5||58.5kg||$5|
|4||6||NEIGHBOURHOOD||Enver Jusufovic||Michael Dee||3.45L||1||56.5kg||$16|
|5||4||ARCADIA PRINCE||Amy McDonald||Jordan Childs||4.45L||2||58.5kg||$31|
|6||2||WIDGEE TURF||Patrick Payne||Billy Egan||5.2L||6||58.5kg||$15|
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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