15 classy three-year-olds have been included in nominations for this Friday’s Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse, highlighted by some of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival’s most exciting prospects.
A notable performer over just five competitive starts so far, trainer Gai Waterhouse has nominated Almalad for the 2014 Bill Stutt Stakes.
Beginning his racing tenure with a comfortable victory in the Nuturf Plate (1000m) in late December, Almalad returned to the track in slick form this year; winning the TAB Early Quaddie Plate (1200m) first-up on May 24th before breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 7th.
Disappointing when beating a solitary runner home in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) first-up this time in, the Al Maher gelding displayed a keen turn of foot to finish a credible fourth in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) most recently on September 13th and appears primed for a return to the winner’s circle over his pet distance in the Bill Stutt Stakes.
Finishing an impressive second in the Golden Rose last time out, trainer Paul Messara has included Scissor Kick in nominations for the 2014 Bill Stutt Stakes.
Running outside the places just once in five starts so far, Scissor Kick won the More Than Ready Plate (1250m) by three lengths first-up this time in, repeating the dose in both the Listed Rosebud (1200m) and Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) prior to Golden Rose.
Also included in nominations for the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, Messara is likely to allow Wednesday’s final fields and barrier draws dictate the path taken with the Redoute’s Choice colt.
While yet to hit peak condition over three starts this time in, classy colt Zululand has proven experience running a mile and is a great chance of success in the 2014 Bill Stutt Stakes.
Running a close second to Nordic Empire in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) on debut on November 30th, Zululand quickly built to the task in black type company, finishing fourth in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) on February 1st.
While unable to match the late pace in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22nd, the Fastnet Rock colt returned to commendable form when charging home to win the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on March 8th; returning to the paddock after claiming fifth in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and second in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on April 26th.
Included in nomination for four major Group 1 events through October, success in the Bill Stutt Stakes is likely to warrant acceptance into the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), while a less-polished performance may result in a step-up in distance for the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
Appearing to be searching for the distance when finishing tenth in the Golden Rose last time out, classy Godolphin runner Kumaon has been included in nominations for the 2014 Bill Stutt Stakes.
Claiming one race win and a further four minor places from just seven competitive starts, the Lonhro colt finished third in the Champagne Stakes most notably over three autumn starts and appears primed for a strong spring campaign having finished second in the Run To The Rose in his only other start prior to the Golden Rose.
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Bill Stutt Stakes is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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2014 Bill Stutt Stakes Nominations
|2||ATMOSPHERE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||61|
|3||AWARD OF MERIT||Tony McEvoy||62|
|4||CAVEKA||Peter G Moody||70|
|6||DIVAN (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||65|
|8||MIHANY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||64|
|10||SCISSOR KICK||Paul Messara||98|
|11||SILENT WHISPER||Lloyd Kennewell||66|
|13||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||63|
|14||ZEBULON (NZ)||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||70|
|15||ZULULAND||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||84|