A particularly talented field of eleven runners have been confirmed to line up at Royal Randwick this weekend to contest the featured Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m); highlighted by several previous champions at the highest level of Australian racing.
Running hard to finish a close second to Sweet Idea first-up in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) two weeks ago, Team Hawkes have confirmed Messene in the final field for the 2014 Warwick Stakes.
Securing an impressive total of nine wins and three minor places from just 14 competitive starts, Messene was a standout performer over the 2014 Autumn Carnival; winning each of the Listed National Sprint (1400m) and Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) before placing a credible seventh on a soaked Randwick surface in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
Entered in nominations for the featured Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 25th, Messene has been allocated the central barrier 7 for the Warwick Stakes, and has been confirmed to be partnered by premiership winning jockey James McDonald.
As expected, trainer Chris Waller has dominated the final field for the 2014 Warwick Stakes, accepting positions for no fewer than six of his stable’s stars, including the likes of Boban, Sacred Falls and Royal Descent.
The standout performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Boban completed a perfect record of five wins from five starts, highlighted by both the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Adding the Group 1 Chipping Norton (1600m) crown to his list of achievements through autumn, Boban produced an exceptional run in the Missile Stakes two weeks ago, but will have to overcome the slightly awkward barrier 9 this weekend.
A standout performer over the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Sacred Falls finished fourth in both the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) before charging home to win the Doncaster Mile, successfully defending his 2013 win in the race.
Returning to the paddock after finishing second in the major Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 19th, Waller has been thrilled with the way Sacred Falls has returned to work and is expecting a polished performance in the Warwick Stakes.
Securing four wins and six places of her own from just 16 starts, Royal Descent was arguably the biggest winner of all leading Warwick Stakes chances at Wednesday’s barrier draw, having been allocated the ideal gate 2.
Unlucky not to break through for another race win since taking out the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), Royal Descent completed a strong barrier trial last week and will be further boosted by in-form jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
One of the country’s best performers this year so far, trainer David Payne has confirmed Criterion will resume in the 2014 Warwick Stakes, ahead of a spring racing campaign geared towards the Cox Plate.
Running on to finish fourth amongst classy competition in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) first-up on February 15th, the Sebring entire finished a close second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, and while appearing to be lacking top gear when finishing a disappointing eighth in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (2000m) on March 15th, responded in the best way possible in winning both the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) back-to-back.
Trainer Joe Pride is also offered more than one chance of success in the 2014 Warwick Stakes, accepting final field positions for Group 1 winners Laser Hawk and Tiger Tees.
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2014 Warwick Stakes Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||11x54170x4||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||9||59kg||117|
|2||7835x4412x||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||5||59kg||116|
|3||1313x820x8||LASER HAWK||Joseph Pride||–||11||59kg||109|
|4||0x191437x1||TIGER TEES (NZ)||Joseph Pride||–||10||59kg||109|
|5||70x63440x7||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||6||59kg||108|
|6||1x11x117x2||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||7||59kg||108|
|7||2x21x0000x||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||1||59kg||107|
|8||44x32132x5||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||3||59kg||106|
|9||224x42811x||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Hugh Bowman||4||58.5kg||110|
|10||264x21160x||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Blake Shinn||8||58.5kg||107|
|11||3205x4525x||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||2||57kg||111|