A less-than capacity field of nine runners have been confirmed to line up for this weekend’s Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick, highlighted by several previous champions at the highest level of Australian racing.
One of the standout performers of the 2014 Autumn Carnival, trainer David Payne has confirmed Criterion in the final field for the 2014 Chelmsford Stakes.
Claiming five race wins and as many minor places from just 17 competitive starts so far, Criterion was unlucky not to break through for a race win over five black type starts through the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival; finishing second in both the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) most notably.
Returning this year in career-best form, the Sebring entire finishing fourth in the CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) first-up and second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, and while appearing to be outclassed when only managing eighth in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15th, responded in impressive fashion when taking out both the Group 2 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) back-to-back.
Running on for third in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) first-up on August 23rd, Criterion has been charged with overcoming the relatively wide and awkward barrier 8, but is more than a chance of returning to the winner’s circle in the Chelmsford Stakes.
As expected, trainer Chris Waller has dominated the final field for the 2014 Chelmsford Stakes, accepting positions for a total of six of his stable’s stars including Sacred Falls and Moriarty.
Also returning to the track in scintillating form this year, Sacred Falls arguably offers Waller his best chance of Chelmsford Stakes, particularly after claiming the ideal barrier 3 and confirmation he will be partnered by in-form hoop Tye Angland.
Unlucky to finish just outside the places in both the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) first-up this year, the O’reilly entire charged home to win the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12th; successfully defending his crown in the 2013 edition of the event.
Returning to the paddock after finishing second to It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) just one week later, Sacred Falls finished fourth in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes first-up and has reportedly worked well in the lead-up to the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes.
Beginning his racing career under the guidance of leading Irish trainer Richard Hannon before transferring to the care of Waller at the conclusion of 2011, Moriarty ran on to finish fifth in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) first-up on August 23rd and is offered a good chance of improvement this weekend from the ideal barrier 2.
Steadily building to the task over his most recent preparation, the Clodovil gelding undoubtedly reached peak condition upon arriving in Brisbane for the 2014 Winter Carnival; placing a credible fifth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) before winning the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) and finishing second in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
Returning to racing this time in for the first time since the 2013 Autumn Carnival, trainer Joseph Pride is confident Group 1 winner Laser Hawk is capable of returning to peak racing condition through spring.
Arguably hitting career-best form through the 2012 autumn, Laser Hawk finished third in the Randwick Guineas before charging home to win the Rosehill Guineas with relative ease just a fortnight later.
Yet to be confirmed for a partner, Laser Hawk will leave from barrier 4 in the 2014 Chelmsford Stakes.
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2014 Chelmsford Stakes Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||835x4412x4||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||3||59kg||116|
|2||1313x820x8||LASER HAWK||Joseph Pride||–||4||59kg||109|
|3||0x63440x75||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||6||59kg||108|
|4||34655512×5||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||2||59kg||108|
|5||x3x0024311||BAGMAN||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||5||59kg||105|
|6||21131143×8||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||9||59kg||105|
|7||322x1114x1||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||7||59kg||103|
|8||24x42811x3||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||–||8||58.5kg||110|
|9||205x4525x2||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||1||57kg||111|