McNeil Stakes Tips – 2015

Promising collection of three year olds for this year’s running of the McNeil Stakes with several vying for favouritism. Ready For Victory makes his return to racing as does the promising Prince Of Brooklyn and punters can’t split the pair with $4.00 available for both. Gold Symphony ($7.50), winner of the Vain Stakes last start, and Demonstrate, who was very unlucky in the same race, are $7.50 each of two and on a bunched second line of betting with Stream Ahead, the only filly in the race. Fillies have won five of the past ten runnings of this race with the most recent being Lady Of Harrods in 2012.


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Mick Price’s Magnus colt is unbeaten in two starts, claiming the G3 National Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide on debut before opting to by-pass the Group 1 Atkins Stakes at Doomben and competing in the Elvstroem Classic at Swan Hill. He won each race by comfortable margins and not surprisingly was immediately put aside for the spring which, judging by his two recent barrier trial wins, he appears more than ready for.


2. GOLD SYMPHONY – G Boss (2)

He pulled his way up to sit three wide on a moderate speed when contesting the G3 Vain Stakes last fortnight but the son of Reward For Effort kicked strongly in the straight to record a long neck win over Top Me Up, his second victory from only three starts. Found himself in the right spot last time given the pace of the race however, that was his first run in a month and would expect him to have taken benefit from it. Will be in the mix again.


3. READY FOR VICTORY – M Zahra (3)

Finished a great fourth in this year’s Golden Slipper behind Vancouver, only his second race start, before struggling in the G1 Sire’s Produce a fortnight later and finishing seventh (5.5 lengths) to Pride Of Dubai. Showed he is a galloper with huge potential in his initial campaign. The More Than Ready colt closed strongly to run a narrow second at the latest of his two trials at Cranbourne recently and sure to be closing strongly late here too.


4. STOKER – B Shinn (6)

Caught deep at the tail of the field as the settled in the Vain Stakes a fortnight ago so the Tony McEvoy trained galloper pushed forward but couldn’t get any closer to the fence, sitting four deep on the pace as they turned for home. He battled on strongly in the straight, just being pipped for third in the line and finishing 1.4 lengths behind Gold Symphony. Nothing went right for him last start and can eat into last start’s margin with a more comfortably run in transit.


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5. DEMONSTRATE – C Newitt (11)

Very good support for the Godolphin runner before last fortnight’s Vain Stakes with the son of New Approach firming from $5.00 into $3.80 favourite. Punters were left frustrated however as Demonstrate was caught behind line of four leaders in the straight with nowhere to go. He finished fourth 1.3 lengths but would’ve given the winner Gold Symphony plenty to worry about with clear running. Drawn wide so will have to be at the top of his game if to atone for last start here.


6. TOP ME UP – D Dunn (5)

The grey gelding from the Hawkes Racing camp sat 3/4 of a length of the leader in a moderately run Vain Stakes a fortnight ago. He fought on well but was shaded late by Gold Symphony, running second by a long neck. The well-bred Exceed And Excel colt who cost connections $360,000 hasn’t been far away in any of his four starts to-date but doubt he’ll find this race any easier than the Vain and would rate a few in front of him.


7. RAGAZZO DEL CORSA – S Baster (10)

Drifted noticeably in the betting for his return to racing from a twenty-five week spell in the Vain Stakes, $4.60 out to $7.50, and ran accordingly. He was able to find the front easily enough and set a moderate tempo however, he couldn’t quicken inside the furlong and was swamped inside the last 100m, finishing seventh (2.1 lengths) behind Gold Symphony. Found to be lame post-race but still hasn’t got the runs on the board for mine at this level yet to warrant inclusion.


8. EQUINOVA – L Currie (7)

Started $51 in the Vain Stakes after finishing sixth of eight behind Demonstrate at his previous start, and settled on the leader’s back. The Equiano gelding raced in limited space closer to the fence down the straight and whilst not ideal to his chances, would’ve liked to have seen him fight or hold his position with a little more determination than he did. Hasn’t had a great deal of luck last two runs but couldn’t have him with any confidence.


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9. BROCKHOFF – K McEvoy (9)

Made his debut back in February for trainer Ciaron Maher in the G3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) but struggled to maintain his midfield position on the occasion and finished a well beaten (12 lengths) eighth behind Thurlow. The Lonhro colt was given a good spell and as expected on his return to racing in Bairnsdale Maiden, where he started the $2.30 favourite, got the job done easily enough, winning by two lengths. Stable obviously have an opinion of him kicking him off in a G3 race and the soft kill at Bairnsdale will do him no harm however, prepared to see how he shapes up back at his grade.


10. MR INDIVIDUAL – M Rodd (8)

Only start to-date for Leon Corsten’s colt resulted in a head win over Deputy Dan in a Bendigo Maiden back in June. Put away straight after that win and must be pleasing the stable if they’ve decided to make this race his return contest.


11. STREAM AHEAD – P Keane (1)

The Dane Shadow filly kicked off her career with an impressive two length win at Bendigo back in April before returning with an equally strong effort when second (2 length) to Petit Filous at Moonee Valley four weeks back. Petit Filous is an exciting galloper and has since won the G3 Quezette Stakes comfortably. Stream Ahead will be fitter for that first up run and although she’s been set a task here in taking on a promising bunch of males, she does create plenty of interest.



Good speed here with several capable of leading – Top Me Up, Ragazzo Del Corsa, Prince Of Brooklyn. Ready For Victory achieved a great deal on raw ability in his first three starts earlier this year and would think he’s only developed over the break since.
He’ll be able to tag the speed from his draw and finish strongly here. It didn’t go to plan for Gold Symphony last start but he still got the jump done and like the way he went through the line in the end. He could improve sharply again here with the benefit of that run and some cover in transit. Stream Ahead ran second to a highly promising filly that, if in this race, would be at the top of the market.






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