With eight of the eleven runners between them, training powerhouses Chris Waller and Hawkes Racing go head-to-head in this year’s edition of the Shannon Stakes to be run at Rosehill on Saturday. However it is Godolpin’s sole representative Vashka, who heads the markets $4.00 just in advance of Hawkes Racing’s Ninth Legion ($4.60). Waller’s leading hope according to early betting is Flamingo Star although I’m Imposing has been met with very good support at longer odds, firming from an opening price of $17 into $11. Melbourne visitor Akavoroun, who ran a bottler first up from a sell in the Listed Sofitel Stakes, is $5.00.
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1. MORIARTY – (1)
Did all he could do first up when tenth (4.3 lengths) behind Royal Descent in the G2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) before battling away in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes won by Complacent. Did settle a long way back in a leader dominated race last time out but he needs to be moving up in distance, not coming back, and will be well accounted for again.
2. FORETELLER – J Parr (10)
Good enough first up from a spell over 1400m when seventh (3.5 lengths) in the G2 Warwick Stakes and then got too far back in a leader dominated race when ninth (7.5 lengths) behind The Cleaner at Moonee Valley in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes. Won three of nine at this circuit but at his best when contesting 1800m – 2000m races and hard to see him having the sprint in the 9yo legs to run some of these down in the straight.
3. MESSENE – B Avdulla (3)
After two solid runs back from a long spell and drawing well for last week’s G2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m), really expected to see more from this bloke than the eighth placed finished he produced. Gets back up to 1500m here which should be in his favour but wouldn’t think he finds this any easier than last start for mine. Gets the right run again here but on last start effort, only for the faithful.
4. NINTH LEGION – C Reith (2)
Got a beautiful run when resuming from a spell in last fortnight’s G2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) and had every chance when finishing a narrow third (long neck) to Winx in a blanket finish. He’ll only be fitter for that run, has an exceptional second up record which has seen him miss a place once only in six starts, and he finished third in this race last year. On track to go just as well this year.
5. I’M IMPOSING – T Angland (7)
Thought his return effort in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) was excellent given the way the race was run. The 10yo draw poorly (14) and settled well back in the field but was only one of few who made some ground on the leader’s in the run home, finishing ninth (5.3 lengths) behind Complacent, Kermadec and Royal Descent. The form out of that race has been fantastic, he strips fitter and keeping the races a few weeks apart appeals to the old boy. Wouldn’t dismiss his chances of running a race at odds lightly.
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6. FLAMINGO STAR – J Bowman (4)
Had his chance in the run and although only beaten 4.5 lengths by Hooked when resuming in the G2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) did expect to see more from this former import from Chris Waller’s yard. He next went to Newcastle for last week’s Cameron Handicap, settling well back in the field but was warming up nicely through the middle of the ruck before running out of room inside the final 75m and finishing ninth (2.9 lengths) behind Forget. Should’ve finished closer last time out and being third-up over 1500m, should be at or very close to, his top. Would give another go and keep him under consideration for the multiples.
7. AKAVOROUN – G Schofield (9)
Excellent return to racing from this lightly raced 6yo when running a length second to Disposition in the Listed Sofitel Stakes. Disposition looks set to compete at the very top level this campaign and this son of Lycrima Cristi, who ran fourth last prep in the G1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), also seems headed for the same class. Finished seventh (3.8 lengths) in the G1 Rupert Clarke second up last time in and can be expected to go better here.
8. WOULDN’T IT BE NICE – T Huet (11)
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get a handle on this bloke. His last three wins have all been at double-figure prices and he popped up for third in last week’s Cameron Handicap (1500m) to add value to the trifecta as a $31 chance. Finished well but this is a significant step up on his last start and given his inconsistency, would be comfortable leaving him out.
9. VASHKA – S Clipperton
Although drawing barrier six for the G2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m), his second run back from a spell, the Godolphin 5yo was posted three deep midfield during the run and despite being close enough to the leader’s on the turn, could only manage seventh (3.6 lengths) behind Winx. At his best when rolling along out in front and the tempo of this race will be crucial to his chances. Drawn eight and with a couple inside of him sure to take up forward positions, may have to do a bit of work early.
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10. FOREIGN PRINCE – K O’Hara (6)
Continued his consistent form with a head second to Centre Pivot in a BM 95 (1500m) here at Rosehill at his most recent start. The David Payne trained 5yo as per usual, took up the running and despite having a 5kgs advantage at the weights and digging in for the fight over the final 100m, couldn’t find the extra margin required. He won’t find this any easier but will give his all and be there until the final 100m, which will be his biggest challenge.
11. GOD’S IN HIM – T Berry (5)
Made it three from three this prep when scoring a narrow victory over Nevagotavote in a BM 80 (1400m) at Rosehill last start. The Hawkes Racing trained runner looked to be bolting outside of the leader coming to the 300m but had to dig very deep when that horse kept kicking. The God’s Own 6yo got the job done last time out under 58.5kgs and continued up the grades. Whilst this is a big step up again, the drop in weight and barrier five will see him give his supporters a decent show.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Plenty looking for a forward position here – Vashka, Ninth Legion, Messene, Foreign Prince and God’s In Him. This will please connections of I’m Imposing who I though was good first up in the G2 Chelmsford. Expect him to finishing strongly at double figure price. Ninth Legion has drawn gate two so he has the option of forcing the pace or taking the site – depending on his preference. First up run was a beauty and he looks spot on for here. Akavoroun is a real improver. The gelding got better with each run last time in and has continued to progress over the break judging by his first up run behind a horse that looks destined to figure in Group 1 company.
1. I’M IMPOSING
2. NINTH LEGION
4. GOD’S IN HIM