Fourteen three-year-old’s will line up for Saturday’s 2016 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield following this morning’s release of a final field and barrier draw; highlighted by the inclusion of several runners targeting the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney in a fortnight.
Defcon is one such runner, who has been confirmed in the 2016 McNeil Stakes field by trainers Peter & Paul Snowden, and who should prove extremely tough to beat from the ideal barrier 4.
Defcon immediately stamped himself as a colt to follow when second in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 30th, before again finishing in a close second in the Group 2 Silver Slipper (1100m) on February 20th.
Breaking through for his first race win in the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes (1200m) on March 12th, the Choisir colt was returned to the paddock after failing to fire in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on March 19th.
Having trailed well in the lead-up to his competitive return, Defcon has been charged with carrying a race-high 58.5kgs, but will be partnered by leading hoop Dwayne Dunn in the McNeil Stakes.
The Lindsay Park operation with launch a multi-pronged attack in the race after accepting for three of their stable’s stars, including Highland Beat.
Posting two wins and five minors through ten career starts so far, Highland Beat broke through for his first career win in only his second start at Moonee Valley in December, and while running second in the Hyland Race Colours Plate (1200m) on Boxing Day, received a freshen-up after failing to fire in the Gold Coast Magic Millions 2.y.o Guineas (1100m) on January 9th.
Resuming for second in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m), the Exceed And Excel colt ran tenth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) before finishing second in the Robert Taranto Handicap (1100m).
Having returned to racing this time for second in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) a fortnight ago, Highland Beat should prove tough to beat from barrier 3 and with only 56kgs in tow.
China Dream and Hardham both carry strong form into the McNeil Stakes and figure as good chances of success for trainer Mick Price.
Producing several smart efforts in his debut preparation, China Dream has returned this time for second in the B&B Aluminium Maiden (1100m) and third in the Racing, Dining, Events Maiden (1200m).
Arguably Price’s best chance of success in the McNeil Stakes, Hardham ran third in the Vain Stakes first-up a fortnight ago.
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2016 McNeil Stakes Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||2210x||DEFCON||Peter & Paul Snowden||Dwayne Dunn||4||58.5kg||80|
|2||1216x||SEABURGE||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||6||58.5kg||80|
|3||12020212×2||HIGHLAND BEAT||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||3||56kg||72|
|4||35x45512x||PYX CHAMBER||John O’Shea||Michael Dee (a)||13||56kg||67|
|5||2x11x||BLUE TYCOON||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||1||56kg||70|
|6||413×6||REVOLVING DOOR||Clinton McDonald||Nicholas Hall||10||56kg||70|
|7||1225||WAZZENME||Stuart Webb||Luke Nolen||9||56kg||67|
|8||330×23||CHINA DREAM||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||7||56kg||66|
|9||1×3||HARDHAM||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||8||56kg||66|
|10||1||AWAKE IN GRINZING (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Ben Melham||5||56kg||66|
|11||26||SO SI BON||Robbie Laing||–||14||56kg||63|
|12||67×342||SIMPLY INVINCIBLE||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||–||2||56kg||59|
|13||5||I’M TOO HOT||Mark Riley||–||12||56kg||59|
|14||26x07x||KINETIC DESIGN||Stuart Webb||Luke Currie||11||54kg||66|