The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
7 Stakes Field Update: #8 Pericles has been scratched with trainer James Cummings not yet testing the horse at weight-for-age and instead keeping him ticking along for a shot at the $1.5 million Epsom Handicap on September 30.
The inaugural 7 Stakes 2023 race runs at Royal Randwick on Saturday and Chris Waller’s dual Group 1 winning mare Fangirl is tipped to take out top honours.
Formerly the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) ran at the meeting offering the winner a ballot free ride into the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) a fortnight later.
This year the George Main was renamed the Group 1 $5 million King Charles III Stakes (1600m) and will run on October 14 as part of the huge The Everest Day card.
In place of the George Main on The Shorts Day on Saturday we have the unlisted $1 million 7 Stakes (1600m) and the weight-for-age event also has an Epsom ballot exemption up for grabs.
Waller had an outstanding record in the former George Main Stakes preparing eight of the past 11 winners most recently in 2021 with his subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant.
He is looking to continue that dominance with the new 7 Stakes race and is tipped to do so with Fangirl sitting top of the latest markets at $3.30 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
First-up the five-year-old daughter of Sebring returned to her best winning an Anamoe-free Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) on August 19.
She has been kept fresh since and goes up to a mile on the weekend with Kerrin McEvoy coming aboard for the ride from barrier 10.
Waller launches a three-pronged assault on the inaugural 7 Stakes field also saddling-up Hinged ($11), who is winless since her Group 1 Surround Stakes victory in February of 2022, and European import Going Global ($23) from barriers eight and one respectively.
Occupying the second line of 7 Stakes betting is one-time favourite Zaaki at $3.90 for Annabel Neasham.
The evergreen nine-year-old has eased in the markets for his second-up assignment where Chad Schofield will ride the weight-for-age star from a mid-field gate six draw.
First-up the dual Mackinnon Stakes champ finished only a half-length third to Fangirl in the Winx Stakes.
He is sure to improve off that resuming run and will relish the extra distance here out to add to his solid 1600m record (11:3-2-2).
Zaaki presents as a genuine threat to turn the tables on his last start conqueror, add to his great second-up strike-rate (9:4-0-2) and continue to build towards the spring majors.
A further two runners are at single figures 7 Stakes odds with the Kerry Parker-trained Think It Over ($6) and Godolphin’s early market mover Pericles ($7.50).
Nash Rawiller partners So You Think eight-year-old Think It Over from the gun gate two draw with the galloper presenting fit third-up.
He defeated Zaaki on a Heavy (10) track here back in April of 2022 in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and has been good his two runs in this prep after a lengthy let-off.
Fresh he ran sixth in that close Winx Stakes finish only 1.46 lengths off Fangirl before a Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) third.
Again, Think It Over was narrowly beaten there a half-length off the shock winner Navajo Peak and he gets the chance to atone returning to the same track and trip with natural improvement aiding his cause.
The James Cummings-trained Street Boss four-year-old Pericles meanwhile is getting some early love from the punters to make it three on the trot this campaign.
He won with 59.5kg at Rosehill in the Spring Preview over 1400m on August 12 before improving with a drop in weights here taking out the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
The mile suits and it could be the dual Group 2 winner’s time to hit the Group 1 circle.
2023 7 Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||1x14241x63||THINK IT OVER||Kerry Parker||Nash Rawiller||2||59kg||120|
|2||3341x217x3||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Chad Schofield||6||59kg||117|
|3||820x77114x||ARAPAHO (FR)||Bjorn Baker||Ms Rachel King||9||59kg||112|
|4||x16x6026x6||MY OBERON (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||Regan Bayliss||3||59kg||109|
|5||0x121735x4||ZEYREK (FR)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Andrew Adkins||5||59kg||107|
|6||01x93186x0||DIAMIL (IRE)||John O’Shea||Tom Sherry||7||59kg||105|
|7||x3223180x5||HOO YA MAL (GB)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||4||59kg||104|
|8||8x41292x11||PERICLES||James Cummings||Zac Lloyd (a)||11||58.5kg||109|
|9||562x3227x1||FANGIRL||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||10||57kg||114|
|10||13x121x0x9||GOING GLOBAL (IRE)||Chris Waller||Dylan Gibbons (a)||1||57kg||111|
|11||58x26844x4||HINGED||Chris Waller||Brett Prebble||8||57kg||108|
|12||4x694341x8||FIREBURN||Gary Portelli||Jason Collett||12||56.5kg||101|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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