An unblemished Moonee Valley record and the absence of champion Black Caviar has enticed trainer Stephen Brown to give Sea Lord his chance at Group race success in the Australia Stakes.
Brown has aimed Sea Lord at the Group Two weight-for-age feature on Friday night since the gelding’s second in the Christmas Stakes at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
Sea Lord, who was bought as part of a package deal which included Winter King and Bushcraft, has won three of his seven starts for Brown.
All three wins have been at Moonee Valley and he is yet to be beaten there.
“He’s proven to be a Moonee Valley specialist,” Brown said.
“So that was a factor for sure.
“And just looking at the nominations for the race, there’s no Black Caviar in there like there was last year. I wouldn’t have even run him in it if it was last year.”
Black Caviar, who continued preparations for her autumn carnival return in a jumpout at Sandown on Tuesday, has won two of the past three Australia Stakes (1200m) under lights at Moonee Valley including a 4-1/4 length first-up win 12 months ago.
There is no such star power in this year’s nominations with Brown looking forward to the contest with Sea Lord who’ll be ridden by Luke Currie.
“I know there are a couple of handy horses nominated but I don’t think they are unbeatable. I think he’s got a good chance,” Brown said.
Nominations for the Australia Stakes include First Command, Christmas Stakes winner Undeniably and the Peter Snowden-trained duo Pinwheel and Skytrain.