A capacity field of 20 plus two emergencies has been confirmed to line up for the 2014 Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on day 1 of the inaugural The Championships this weekend.
Charged with carrying a race-high 58kgs, talented miler Boban will lead a six pronged attack from trainer Chris Waller in the 2014 Doncaster Handicap, and will be joined by classy runners My Kingdom Of Fife, Sacred Falls, Hawkspur, Royal Descent and Weary.
Arguably the highest performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Boban (barrier 19) claimed an impressive five wins from as many starts, including the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Unable to justify favouritism in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) when fifth first-up, the exciting Bernardini gelding continued to work towards peak condition; returning to the winner’s circle when displaying a keen turn of foot to win the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on March 8th.
Despite being unable to match the late pace of eventual champion Gordon Lord Byron and seventh in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) last start, Waller is confident Boban can secure another major Group 1 title this week upon returning to his pet distance.
Spending nearly two-and-a-half years on the sideline after suffering a tendon injury in his 2011 spring preparation, My Kingdom Of Fife is yet to hit peak condition over two race starts since returning to the track, but if offered arguably his best chance to date in the 2014 Doncaster Handicap, having drawn the ideal barrier 7.
Winner of the 2013 edition of the Doncaster Handicap, Sacred Falls has been unlucky to finish just outside the places in fourth in both the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and George Ryder so far this season, and will have to overcome the slightly awkward barrier 14 if any chance of building further this weekend.
Returning to competitive form over his last two starts, Hawkspur (barrier 8) was touted as one to watch over the 2013 spring, but was unable to live up to the hype that followed his campaign from race to race; ending the largely luckless preparation 20th in the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
A consistent performer over major races in the 2013 spring, Royal Descent was unlucky to receive the wide barrier 20 for the 2014 Doncaster Handicap; however Waller has drawn confidence from the Redoute’s Choice mare’s strong 2013 autumn preparation which peaked with an impressive 10 length victory in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
Returning to the track in near-career best form this time in, French import Weary (barrier 13) finished third in the TAB Rewards Maiden (1400m) first-up, second in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) on March 22nd and won the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) last weekend to gain a ballot-free entry into this weekend’s 2014 Doncaster Handicap.
Opening in betting markets for the 2014 Doncaster Handicap as outright favourite, Team Hawkes-trained Messene has drifted noticeably since been allocated the unfortunate barrier 18 at Tuesday’s evening’s draw.
Claiming two wins from as many starts this preparation, the exciting Lonhro gelding won the Listed National Sprint (1400m) on March 9th before stamping his chances at 2014 Doncaster Handicap glory when strolling away to win the Ajax Stakes by nearly three lengths.
Winner of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15th, Dissident was arguably one of the biggest winners at Tuesday evening’s barrier draw; allocated the ideal gate 11 for the 2014 Doncaster Handicap.
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2014 Doncaster Handicap Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||11111×5417||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||19||58kg||–||117|
|2||1112x21x00||MY KINGDOM OF FIFE (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||7||57kg||–||111|
|3||32x212x566||STREAMA||Guy Walter||Hugh Bowman||21||56.5kg||–||113|
|4||1x47835x44||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Zac Purton||14||56.5kg||–||111|
|5||714570×634||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||8||56kg||–||110|
|6||x51316x855||TOYDINI||Guy Walter||Blake Shinn||3||56kg||–||109|
|7||14423×6272||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Damien Oliver||1||55.5kg||–||110|
|8||12x2011x17||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Luke Nolen||5||55kg||–||108|
|9||1x23205x45||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||20||54kg||–||110|
|10||x848113155||MONTON||Ron Quinton||Sam Clipperton (a)||4||54kg||–||106|
|11||x738320x30||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||James McDonald||2||53.5kg||–||108|
|12||x00x80x310||FAT AL||Peter G Moody||Kerrin McEvoy||15||53kg||1.0kg||104|
|13||0x614143x3||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||Joao Moreira||22||52.5kg||–||103|
|14||462x6983x0||HANA’S GOAL (JPN)||Kazuhiro Kato||Kyosuke Maruta||16||52kg||–||106|
|15||225x13x719||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||Chad Schofield||6||52kg||–||104|
|16||22264×2116||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Brenton Avdulla||11||51.5kg||–||107|
|17||2111x11x11||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Corey Brown||18||51.5kg||–||107|
|18||1125×1223||EL ROCA||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Glen Boss||17||51.5kg||–||104|
|19||x6x244x321||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||13||51.5kg||–||103|
|20||5x52101x38||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Craig Williams||12||51.5kg||–||100|
|22e||376154×249||GYPSY DIAMOND||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||10||51.5kg||–||91|