A talented field of 23 three-year-olds have been nominated for an appearance in this weekend’s Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, highlighted by several notable performers over the two-year-old autumn season.
A standout through the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, trainer Chris Waller has nominated Brazen Beau for a return to racing in the 2014 McNeil Stakes.
Finishing worse than second just once over five competitive race starts to date, Brazen Beau beat a talented field by nearly five lengths in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1100m) on debut, and while unable to match the late pace and fifth in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) on March 8th, responded in the best way possible when charging home to win the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) on May 10th.
Having since claimed back-to-back second placings in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) and Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m), Waller has been pleased with the way the I Am Invincible colt has returned to work, and is confident of a polished first-up performance this weekend.
Trainer Mick Price is poised to dominate the final field for the 2014 McNeil Stakes, nominating a total of four three-year-olds, including Cornrow, Jabali, Moonovermanhattan and Nordic Empire.
One of the most consistent runners in major two-year-old events through autumn, Cornrow is yet to break through for a race win, but has secured a total of five places from eight starts.
Running second in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) first-up on January 10th, the Duporth colt finished slightly off the pace when fifth in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 8th, however responded well when third in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22nd.
Having since finished third in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) most notably, Price is confident Cornrow will be far better for his first-up run for ninth in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) two weeks ago.
Arguably Price’s most exciting prospect leading into the McNeil Stakes, Jabali has so-far contested a reasonably similar path to Cornrow, and is also geared towards the featured Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) on September 13th.
Securing a total of three places from six starts, the Exceed And Excel colt finished second in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) on debut in October, returning to racing this year for second in both the Blue Diamond Prelude and Blue Diamond Stakes, before managing only mid-pack finishes in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
Finishing sixth in the Vain Stakes first-up, Jabali is more than a chance of breaking through for a maiden race win this weekend, particularly if allocated an ideal barrier.
Finishing a close second in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at the conclusion of the autumn season, Zululand has been included in nominations for several Group1 feature races through spring, including the likes of the Cox Plate, Spring Champion Stakes and Epsom Handicap, and has seemingly returned to competition in good form; placing fifth in the Vain Stakes first-up.
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 McNeil Stakes is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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2014 McNeil Stakes Nominations
|1||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||70|
|2||BEL SHOW||Henry Dwyer||–|
|4||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller||86|
|5||CAVEKA||Peter G Moody||63|
|9||EDDY WOULD GO||Todd Balfour||–|
|10||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||84|
|11||FORGIVE AND FORGET||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||68|
|13||MOONLIGHT HUSSLER||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||71|
|15||NORDIC EMPIRE||Mick Price||73|
|16||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||80|
|17||NOVEL DANCER||Shea Eden||70|
|18||RONN’S MOSS||Henry Dwyer||–|
|19||ROYAL STANDING||Brent Stanley||64|
|22||TAN TAT DIAMOND||Peter G Moody||69|
|23||ZULULAND||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||86|