While there are two massive Group 1 races this Saturday, the strong support card will have plenty of people's attention with some of Australia's finest horses descending on Morphettville!
We kick off the massive Oaks Day card with the Listed Queen Adelaide Stakes for the two-year-olds. Three of the nine entrants will be making their race debuts while horses like Sanglier and Texas Lil have already contested races at Stakes level.
Fresh off his riding double at Morphettville last week, Damian Lane returns to ride the race favourite Sanglier for James Cumming and Godolphin. Lane has won the last two editions of the Queen Adelaide Stakes and will team up with the horse he steered to third place in last year’s Listed Merson Cooper Stakes at Sandown. Two starts back, Sanglier beat home Let Me Sleep on It at Wyong, who has since gone on to win the Listed Redoute’s Choice Stakes at Caulfield.
Phillip Stokes’ Dancer’s Kin broke his maiden last start at Morphettville after finding the placings in each of his three starts prior. Two starts back he ran third to Zizzis in the Adelaide 2YO magic Millions race and two prior, just lost to his stablemate More Than Exceed who went on to contest the Group 1 Blue Diamond.
Of the other previously raced horses, Anthony Freedman’s Solar Star won her maiden by three lengths at Benella last start and Richard Jolly’s Heaven’s Deal smoked her opposition at Murray Bridge winning her debut race by five lengths.
Three-time Queen of Adelaide winner David Hayes and his Lindsay Park team will debut their new filly She Will Rise in the race which will be ridden by Regan Bayliss.
This year’s edition of the Euclase Stakes is stocked with talent and features a few well-credentialed interstate visitors in Viridine, Nature Strip and She’s So High but the local contingent led by Despatch and Split Lip will be sure to put up a strong fight on home soil.
Viridine is already a Group 2 winner after claiming the Roman Consul at Randwick last year and earlier this year finished third in the Group 1 Galaxy behind In Her Time and English. She is the class horse of the race and will have the services of leading jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
John Sadler’s Nature Strip is the early favourite for the race and has a sensational career strike rate of four wins and two seconds from six starts. The gelding claimed the Inglis Dash at Flemington in January before running on strongly for second in his first start back from a break at Caulfield two weeks ago.
She’s So High is the third elect in the field and has run very well in all seven of her career starts. Last year she was less than a length of Shoals in third place over 1200m, while last start she was 2.3 lengths of Houtzen in the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes over the same distance. With a Listed win to her name and Damien Oliver on board, she’ll be a horse worth watching.
Despatch has hardly put a foot run since returning from injury this year. The gelding was impressive in winning his last start in the Listed Redelva Stakes while Will Clarken’s Split Lip returned to the winners circle two-weeks ago after contesting some quality races in Victoria over Spring.
We’re set for another sensational edition of the McKay Stakes with a lot of these runners set to use it as a final hit-out before the Group 1 Goodwood in two Saturday’s time.
It looks to be an incredibly even race, with Sprightly Lass the $4.50 favourite for Team Hawkes and Dwayne Dunn. John Hawkes last won the race back in 1986 while Dwayne Dunn has won the race a record four times, most recently aboard Peter Moody’s Thermal Current. The mare won her last start in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield after running second in the Group 2 McCarten Stakes at Rosehill.
There will be a big watch on kiwi visitor Ferrando who is a Group 3 winner back home and also ran third in the Group 1 Telegraph Stakes earlier this year across the ditch. Top New Zealand hoop Matthew Cameron is making the trip across for this ride as the horse looks ahead to the Goodwood in a fortnight.
Coming across from Tasmania is Listed winner I’m Wesley who has a remarkable career record with eleven wins and ten placings from 29 starts. The gelding ran second in both starts across the border in March before being freshened for an Adelaide assault. Tasmanian born and Adelaide based apprentice, Raquel Clark will take the ride on I’m Wesley after riding him in both his Listed wins in Tasmania.
Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane lines up as a $17 outsider in the field with the Goodwood his main goal, likewise with First Among Equals and last year’s Goodwood third placegetter Casino Wizard.
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott are set to have a strong hand in the final race of the day as they search for a Group 2 win for their mares Savapinski and Hussetrical.
Savapinski is the race favourite after running third in her first run back from a spell. The mare claimed last year’s Group 2 Matriarch Stakes at Flemington on Stakes Day and will have the services of Sydney jockey Tim Clark, who has flown over for this ride. Their other runner in Hussterical is a last start winner who convincingly defeated Oaks contender Velocita at Randwick.
Fellow Sydney horse, French Emotion is on the third line of betting after her last start win at Caulfield. The Group 2 winner was only two-lengths off Shoals over the 1600m in the Group 1 Myer Classic in spring and will team up with jockey Ben Melham who has ridden her to three of her seven career victories.
The race also features Group 2 winners Sword of Light and Tiamo Grace as well as Lindsay Park’s Sebring Dream who ran sixth in last year’s Australasian Oaks. Gawler based trainer Gary Searle has the best local chance with his Gawler Cup winner Lady Silhouette.