Just nine runners have been confirmed in the final field for this weekend’s featured Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick, highlighted by the confirmation of some of the 2014 Spring Carnival’s most exciting three-year-old racing prospects.
Returning to racing in exceptional form this season, trainer John O’Shea and Godolphin have confirmed leading chance Sweynesse in the final field for the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes.
Yet to be defeated over his four competitive starts so far, Sweynesse immediately announced his racing arrival when jogging home to win the Blue Gum Forest Maiden (1400m) on debut on May 10th before immediately returning to the paddock.
Beating a classy field to the line which included the likes of subsequent Group 1 champion and fellow Spring Champion Stakes acceptor First Seal in a minor over 1400m first-up this time, the Lonhro colt made a successful transition to black type racing when comfortably winning the Group 3 Newcastle Spring Stakes (1600m) on September 17th before repeating the dose in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) last time out on September 27th.
Allocated the favourable barrier 3, Sweynesse has been confirmed to be partnered by renowned jockey Blake Shinn and is a great chance of success in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes.
Returning to the track in near-perfect condition this time in, First Seal is likely to receive the run of the race from barrier 4 in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes and will be partnered by jockey Jason Collett for the first time competitively.
Finishing fourth in a minor over 1250m in May before returning to the spelling paddock, the Fastnet Rock filly won the Daily Press Group Plate (1100m) first-up, and while suffering a defeat to Sweynesse in the TAB Early Quaddie 3.y.o (1400m) on August 30th, responded in the best way possible in winning the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) last weekend.
A standout performer over his four competitive starts so far, classy colt Panzer Division offers trainer Paul Messara a great chance of success in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes, but will have to overcome the wide and awkward barrier 9.
Debuting with a near-four length victory in the Gold Label Thoroughbreds Maiden (1200m) on July 19th, Panzer Division continued to impress when finishing second to stable mate Scissor Kick in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) before returning to the winner’s circle in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) on September 6th.
Figuring as the only three-year-old in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) most recently on September 20th, the Redoute’s Choice colt was unable to match the late pace of champion miler Sacred Falls, but laid a great account for himself in finishing a credible fifth.
An outside chance of success after securing the central barrier 5, trainer Gai Waterhouse will be represented in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes by classy colt Valentia.
Immediately stamping his claims as one to watch over a strong autumn preparation which peaked with an impressive win in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) on March 15th, Valentia has steadily built to the task over three starts this time in; finishing third in the Up And Coming Stakes first-up, fifth in the Ming Dynasty on September sixth and third in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) last time out.
Pleased with the condition of the Fastnet Rock colt, Waterhouse is confident jockey Tim Clark will get the best from her sole entrant in the 2014 Spring Champion Stakes.
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2014 Spring Champion Stakes Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||1×111||SWEYNESSE||John O’Shea||Blake Shinn||3||56.5kg||90|
|2||3110×353||VALENTIA||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||5||56.5kg||84|
|3||1215||PANZER DIVISION||Paul Messara||Tye Angland||9||56.5kg||88|
|4||2710×8341||HAMPTON COURT||Gai Waterhouse||Joshua Parr||7||56.5kg||78|
|5||56×4223||POUNAMU||Allan Denham||Glyn Schofield||2||56.5kg||72|
|6||713||LIE DIRECT||Steve Englebrecht||–||8||56.5kg||62|
|7||13||DRUM ROLL||David Vandyke||Ms Kathy O’Hara||6||56.5kg||52|
|8||4×1211||FIRST SEAL||John P Thompson||Jason Collett||4||54.5kg||103|
|9||x247x41674||PRESS REPORT||Lee Curtis||Ms Winona Costin (a)||1||54.5kg||75|