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Image: Steve Hart
Last years Spring Champion Stakes winner Maid Of Heaven

THE SPRING CHAMPION STAKES:

2000m, $1 million, set-weight, three-year-olds

HISTORY

* First run in 1971 and won by Gay Icarus

* Before 1978 it was run in autumn as the Australasian Champion Stakes

* Savabeel won the Spring Champion then the Cox Plate but was subsequently beaten in the Derby

* Unlike the tradition for set weights races, this one has not been great for favourites

* Last year’s winner Maid Of Heaven was the first Group One win for her trainer, jockey and sire

* The Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill is the traditional lead-up race

NOTABLE WINNERS

Taras Bulba (1975), Kingston Town (1979), Best Western (1981), Sir Dapper (1983), Easter (1985), Beau Zam (1987), Stylish Century (1989), Kinjite (1991), Danewin (1994), Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995), Tie The Knot (1997), Dignity Dancer (1998), Fairway (1999), Universal Prince (2000), Niello (2003), Savabeel (2004), Monaco Consul (2009), Dundeel (2012), Yankee Rose (2016), Ace High (2017)

TALKING POINTS

* Shadow Hero is aiming to become fifth horse in nine years to complete the Gloaming-Spring Champion double, joining It’s A Dundeel (2012), Complacent (2013), Vanburgh (2015) and Ace High (2017)

* There are no fillies in the 11-starter field after Yankee Rose (2016) and Maid Of Heaven (2018) scored in the past three years

WHAT KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING:

“That (fourth in Gloaming Stakes) should have him well-conditioned and seasoned. We’ve made some small gear changes. We’ve put the blinkers on which we’ve kept up our sleeve for a while and hopefully that’s to his benefit on Saturday” – trainer Adrian Bott on Just Thinkin’.

“Mentally the penny hasn’t dropped yet and there are horses in the race more seasoned than him. But with maturing two and three-year-olds, I think you have to try them in these races if you think they can stay. These races are there and they can sometimes do things at this age” – Goulburn trainer Danny Williams on Rent A Rock.

“He always showed he was a natural stayer to me so I have always trained him that way” – Shadow Hero’s trainer Mark Newnham.

 
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