A talented field of 13 runners have been nominated for an appearance in this weekend’s Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse, without doubt highlighted by the likely return of the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee.
While unable to produce much of a consistent run of form prior to his gelding at the conclusion of the 2013 autumn, Lankan Rupee has since claimed seven wins and one minor places from eight starts and has more than stamped his claims as Horse of the Year.
Returning in 2014 with a resounding four length win in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 8th, the Redoute’s Choice gelding charged home to win the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on February 22nd, and only continued to build in form and class via impressive wins in both the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 12th.
Confirmed to target major Group 1 open sprints through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, trainer Mick Price is confident of another successful season for Lankan Rupee and is expecting a comfortable first-up victory in the McEwen Stakes.
Also included in nominations for the 2014 McEwen Stakes is resuming three-year-old Eloping.
A notable performer in major two-year-old events through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Eloping debuted to racing with back-to-back victories including the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) on January 25th before finishing second behind standout filly Earthquake in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 8th.
Unlucky to be blocked for a run and fourth in the Listed Sports 1000 (1000m) on March 1st, the Choisir filly returned to the winner’s circle in the Bendigo Gold Rush (1000m) before placing a credible seventh in the featured Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5th.
Having since won the Group 3 Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m) and finished fourth in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) on May 10th, trainers Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison are expecting the form displayed by Eloping in work will translate into a strong first-up performance in the McEwen Stakes.
Securing an impressive total of six wins from just ten competitive race starts so far, Vain Queen jumped resounding favourite in last weekend’s Theshark.com.au Stakes (1100m), but was blocked for a run rounding onto the final straight, finishing a disappointing fourth.
Also included in nominations for the Drummond Golf Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley this weekend, trainer John Saddler will use Wednesday’s final field and barrier draw determine which path Vain Queen will take.
A notable performer over just two starts through autumn, trainer Robert Smerdon has included Anatina in nominations for the 2014 McEwen Stakes.
Contesting five impressive starts over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Anatina won both of her first two starts including the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1000m) on October 5th and finished second in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) most notably just one week later.
Charging home to win the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1100m) first-up this year on March 8th, jockey Craig Williams delivered a sensational ride on the Fastnet Rock mare in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) on March 29th; finishing a close second to Tiger Tees.
The final field and barrier draw for this weekend’s Group 2 McEwen Stakes is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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2014 McEwen Stakes Nominations
|2||ANGELIC LIGHT||Robbie Griffiths||93|
|3||ANGELS BEACH||Peter G Moody||96|
|4||CAUTHEN (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||82|
|5||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||88|
|6||I’M ALL THE TALK||Gary Portelli||88|
|7||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||100|
|8||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||118|
|10||OUR NKWAZI||Shawn Mathrick||90|
|13||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||99|