It is only a small field of eight that will line up in this year’s Chipping Norton Stakes, the feature race on the Warwick Farm program this Saturday. Chris Waller has three entrants, Boban, Moriarty and Hawkspur as he searches for his fourth consecutive win in the race. The early favourite however is It’s A Dundeel. This time last year as a 3yo, he swept all before him and will be back to do all again against the older horses this campaign. He looked smart in a recent 1200m trial and is the even money favourite to rack up his sixth Group 1 win.
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1. IT’S A DUNDEEL – J McDonald (1) 59kgs
The 4yo stallion, who will now race in the yellow and black colours of Arrowfield Stud where the horse will stand once his racing days are done, returns to the track after finishing a disappointing eighth as the 3/1 favourite in last year’s Cox Plate. He looked primed for his return in a recent barrier trial and steps out over a mile fresh for the first time. His record speaks for itself and he’ll be hard to beat.
2. BOBAN – G Schofield (4) 59kgs
After a stellar spring that saw him claim all before him, his return to racing last month was full of anticipation. He ran fifth first up in the G2 Expressway (1200m), which was forgivable given his record fresh and over that trip but more was expected from him in the Apollo when fourth, two lengths behind Appearance. The 4yo is re-united with regular Jockey Glyn Schofield here for the first time since the spring and with two runs under his belt, he is ready for the mile and will have no excuses today.
3. HAWSPUR – J Cassidy (5) 59kgs
After failing in the Melbourne Cup, the son of Purrealist returned to racing in the G1 C. F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. Whilst he wasn’t expected to win first up, he certainly wasn’t expected to run a clear last which is what he did. He has been given four weeks off since and is a better horse than that run would suggest.
4. MORIARTY – J Bowman (7) 59kgs
The 6yo has been working home in good style at each of his two runs back this preparation. He was only warming up late in the G2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) first up last month before running third the following fortnight in the G2 Apollo Stakes behind the in-form mare Appearance. The step up to a mile helps and whilst he has won third up last two preps, both of those wins came over 2000m. He’ll be warming up late regardless and keeping them on their toes.
5. MONTON – S Clipperton (2) 59kgs
The rising 8yo has never gone better and should’ve been aiming for his fifth straight win here if it wasn’t for bad luck two starts ago. His most recent outing came in a BM 95 (1600m) a fortnight ago at Randwick where under the steadier of 61.5kgs, he proved too strong for his rivals, scoring by two lengths. Takes on a much tougher field here than what he has been recently but has his confidence up, is fit and from gate 2, will find the right spot.
6. GLENCADAM GOLD – B Shinn (6) 59kgs
After running second in the G2 Hill Stakes last preparation, it appeared the Gai Waterhouse trained stayer may be returning to the form that saw him win the G1 Metrop and G3 Newcastle Cup of 2012. However, after that run and venturing south to Melbourne, he was well beaten in the Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup and was spelled. He has been prepped for his return with a winning barrier trial at the end of January and is at his best when rolling along out in front but, his mixed form over the past year makes it hard to have him with any confidence.
7. PRINCE CHERI – J Ford (3) 59kgs
After winning two on the trot including the G3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m), the David Vandyke trained galloper started the 15/8 favourite in last year’s G1 Metropolitan Handicap. He finished a respectable sixth in the Metrop, 1 ½ lengths behind Seville and was spelled. Ran an eye-catching third to Pretty Pins in a BM 85 (1600m) first up last prep on a soft track and has had two barrier trials over the past month in readiness for his return. The WFA conditions will test.
8. ORDER OF THE SUN – T Berry (8)
Good effort when, first up off a sixteen week spell, the 3yo son of Encosta De Lago led all the way to score a half length in a BM 74 over a mile. Found plenty when challenged first up and sure to be fitter again but he faces a massive rise in class here and is receives no relief in terms of allocated weight. Will shoot across from the outside gate but hard to see him holding off the calibre of some of these challengers.
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Order of the Sun will shoot across to join Glencadam Gold in front with Monton handy. It’ll be interesting to see where McDonald goes on It’s A Dundeel from the inside gate. He draw inside when first up last prep in the G1 Memsie and took up a forward position or, being a small field, he could drop him out and make his run from the tail at a time that suits. Either way, he is a very smart galloper and very hard to beat. No excuses for Boban now. Right distance, jockey, two runs back… would think if he’s going to start winning this prep, it’ll be here. Not sure what to make of Hawkspur’s Melbourne effort and sticking with Monton and Moriarty to round out the placings – both in form and give 100%.
- IT’S A DUNDEEL
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.