Only a small to contest the John Dillon Stakes for 2015, with Godolphin’s Reparations the top-weight and given the rest of the field at least 1.5kgs. That should stop the consistent mare from the Freedman yard, especially now that she gets to 1400m, a distance she has excelled out in the past. Tried and Tired looks the obvious danger. He is racing in great heart this prep and will get every chance in the run. Should there be a boil-over, as there was last year when Finishing Card won at $17.00, it could be Perth galloper Amorino who finds himself in a winnable race for the first time this campaign.
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1. REPARATIONS – D Dunn (7) 60kgs
Given an eight week break after winning the Mss Security Stakes on the final day of the VRC Carnival last year and returned with a typically honest effort in the G3 Standish Handicap on New Year’s day, running third (2.1 lengths) behind Decircles and Lord Of The Sky. Has followed a similar preparation to that of last year in the lead-up to this race where she ran fourth to Finishing Card and her form since that run, particularly over 1400m, reads very well.
2. AMORINO – S Arnold (2) 58.5kgs
Perth galloper who was in fine form in his home-state this time last year but who has struggled to take the step up to the top tier of racing since returning from a spell. He is yet to run a place in five starts this campaign, the most recent of which was in the G3 Standish Handicap where he finished seventh (6 lengths) from Decircles. Couldn’t hold on to a good position in the run last start and wanted to see more from him late heading into this race.
3. TRIED AND TIRED – D Oliver (1) 58.5kgs
Went within a lip of making it consecutive Listed victories last start when nosed out on the line in last week’s Listed Manifold Stakes by good galloper Red Excitement. The 5yo son of Niello is in stellar form this time in and from the inside gate, Oliver will give him every chance to continue that form.
4. AERONAUTICAL – B Rawiller (3) 58kgs
The 6yo gelding is just not hitting the line as well as we know he can this time in. He held his position up the Flemington straight to run sixth (5.9 lengths) in the G3 Standish Handicap before making moderate ground from worse than midfield in the Listed Manifold Stakes, crossing the line in fifth spot, 3.4 lengths behind Red Excitement and Tried And Tired. This track would suit is style of racing but needs to lift on recent efforts.
5. DECIRCLES – S Baster (4) 57.5kgs
Finished too well for Lord Of The Sky to win the G3 Standish Handicap (1200m) New Year’s Day but wasn’t as strong late at his following start when stepping up to 1400m, and running eighth (4.5 lengths) to Red Excitement. Will push forward again but tempo crucial to his chances over this distance and have more confident in others running it out strongly.
6. BACKSTEDT – M Walker (6) 56.5kgs
Given a couple of weeks off after running an unexpected last in the Listed over a mile on Boxing Day. Generally likes his races longer than this but in a small field and with fitness on his side, could push forward and prove himself to be a nuisance to others in the run home.
7. ANLON – D Lane (5) 54.5kgs
Needed the run first up in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) when resuming from a sixth month spell and showed good improvement three weeks later at his only start since, running sixth (3.5 lengths) in the Listed Manifold Stakes (1400m). Drew the widest gate, settled last and made steady ground wide out. Fitter again and will not have to get as far back here in the small field.