A particularly talented field of just nine runners has been confirmed to line up for this weekend’s featured Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick, highlighted by several previous Group 1 champions.
Initially nominating two runners for the 2014 Missile Stakes, trainer Joseph Pride has elected only to accept a position for champion runner Laser Hawk, sending Tiger Tees to Melbourne to contest the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m).
Contesting an impressive record of four wins and three minor places from just nine competitive race starts to date, Laser Hawk was a standout performer over the 2013 racing calendar; placing in both the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (1600m).
While unable to heat peak condition over three starts over autumn, Pride is confident the Missile Stakes will figure as the perfect first-up event for the Artie Schiller gelding, who will have to overcome the reasonably wide and awkward barrier 8.
As expected, trainer Chris Waller will be offered several good chances of victory in the 2014 Missile Stakes, and will launch a three-pronged attack via Boban, Hawkspur and Weary.
The standout performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Boban claimed five wins from as many starts, including both the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) most notably.
Returning in slightly less-than-convincing form in autumn, the Bernardini gelding finished a disappointing fifth in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) and fourth in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) before returning to his pet distance and the winner’s circle in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on March 8th.
Allocated the central barrier 5, Waller is confident of a successful first-up tilt for Boban in the Missile Stakes, with regular jockey Glyn Schofield confirmed to take the ride.
Securing seven wins and as many minor places from just 29 competitive starts so far, Hawkspur was touted as one to watch over the major events of the 2013 spring season, but was unable to completely live up to the hype that followed his campaign everywhere, finishing a disappointing 20th in the Melbourne Cup to close the largely forgettable preparation.
Unable to figure in five starts over autumn, Waller is confident the spring offers Hawkspur far-more chances to shine, including this weekend’s Missile Stakes first-up.
Failing to finish outside the places over five starts through autumn, talented French import Weary arguably offers Waller the best chance of success in the 2014 Missile Stakes with proven capabilities over shorter racing distances.
Unlucky to finish second in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) on March 22nd, the Astronomer Royal gelding secured a maiden Australian victory in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) before running on for third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12th.
Having since finished second in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes, Weary is a great chance of success in the Missile Stakes with renowned jockey Hugh Bowman on board.
Charging home to win the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at the conclusion of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, trainer John Sargent has confirmed Kirramosa (barrier 2) for a first-up run in the 2014 Missile Stakes, and will be joined in the final field by Rebel Dane (barrier 4), Messene (barrier 1), Sweet Idea (barrier 7) and Thump (barrier 9).
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2014 Missile Stakes Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||111x54170x||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||5||58.5kg||117|
|2||4157x2547x||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||Blake Shinn||4||58.5kg||111|
|3||x1313x820x||LASER HAWK||Joseph Pride||Kerrin McEvoy||8||58.5kg||109|
|4||570x63440x||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||3||58.5kg||108|
|5||11x11x117x||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||1||58.5kg||107|
|6||244x32132x||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||6||58.5kg||106|
|7||x2x111729x||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||7||56.5kg||106|
|8||14x414211x||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||John Sargent||Tim Clark||2||56.5kg||102|
|9||1317x7184x||THUMP||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||9||56.5kg||99|