The New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship at Caulfield is set to conclude on Saturday with the running of the A$400,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes over 2000m.
NZB Ready to Run Sale graduate Mongolian Khan to contest Saturday's Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes.
Although the final of the four races is yet to run, the Championship winner is a foregone conclusion with Mourinho (Oratorio) unsurpassable on 20 points, having won the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes and the Group 1 Underwood Stakes.
Saturday’s race has attracted a field of eight horses and carries plenty of quality with a total of 16 Group 1 victories between the contenders.
Carrying the number one saddle cloth is kiwi galloper Criterion (NZ) (Sebring) for trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig. The Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner from earlier this year, Criterion is having his first start back in Australia having competed in Group 1 races in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Also the winner of the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas and the Group 1 Australian Derby, he will commence from barrier 7 for ex-pat kiwi jockey Michael Walker.
Last year’s winner of the race Fawkner (Reset) is back to defend his crown. Trained by Robert Hickmott for Team Williams, the son of Reset won the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at his first start this preparation before finishing second in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes last start. Rider Craig Williams takes the mount, starting from barrier 4.
Three-time Group 1 winner Happy Trails (Good Journey) is looking to win a Group 1 race for the third successive year during the Melbourne Spring Carnival. The Paul Beshara trained gelding was held up for much of the straight at his last start in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. Mark Zahra has been engaged to ride from barrier 6.
A star weight-for-age performer during the Sydney Autumn Carnival this year was Contributer (High Chaparral), winning the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes and the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes. Carrying the blue silks of in-form stable of Godolphin and John O’Shea, the son of High Chaparral has drawn the coveted barrier 1 and will be ridden by Blake Shinn.
A Group 1 winner over 2000m this year was Pornichet (Vespone), a dominant victor of the Group 1 Doomben Cup. The Gai Waterhouse trained entire finished third at his last start in the Group 1 George Main Stakes over 1600m. Leading jockey Kerrin McEvoy is back aboard, drawn barrier 3.
Looking to breakthrough for his maiden Group 1 victory is kiwi-bred galloper Entirely Platinum (NZ) (Pentire) for trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes. A Group 3 winner, the son of Pentire has been runner-up on two occasions at Group 1 level, first in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes and most recently in the Group 1 NZB Memsie Stakes, both at Caulfield. Starting from barrier 5, Dwayne Dunn will once again ride.
The last start Group 1 George Main Stakes winner Kermadec (NZ) (Teofilo), a Karaka graduate, travels to Melbourne for his first look at Caulfield on Saturday. Trained by ex-pat kiwi Chris Waller, the Group 1 Doncaster Mile winner from earlier in the year has regular rider Glen Boss on board, commencing from an outside barrier of 8.
The final runner in the field is New Zealand trained raider Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor), from Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman’s Cambridge stable. The NZB Ready to Run Sale graduate won the Group 1 New Zealand Derby and the Group 1 Australian Derby last season and was finishing strongly into fourth at his last start in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes. Drawn barrier 2, kiwi jockey Opie Bosson will once again partner with the entire on Saturday.
The winner of the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes will earn 10 points in the Championship with points awarded back to eighth placing.
The four-race New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship has seen horses compete for A$1.4 million in prizemoney plus trophies to the value of $15,000. The winner of the Championship will be awarded at the presentation following the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes