The 2015 Moir Stakes field has been released and 11 sprinters are set to contest the Group 1 event that will be held at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Buffering upstaged Lankan Rupee to win the Moir Stakes 12 months ago and the veteran sprinter has the chance to become the first horse since equine superstar Black Caviar to win the race in back-to-back years.
The Mossman gelding has not been seen at the races since he finished a credible sixth behind Aerovelocity in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 14, but he impressed connections with his performances in trackwork and jump-outs.
The other local Group 1 winner in the Moir Stakes field is Peter Moody-trained Flamberge, who returned to the races with a solid second place finish behind Chautauqua in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 5.
Flamberge has been a consistent performer at Group level for 12 months, but he went to another level during his autumn campaign when he was placed in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14, the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on March 7 before he scored an upset win in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16.
Sterling City took out the Group 1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) at Meydan in March last year and he will have the chance to record a maiden win in Australia after being included in the Moir Stakes field.
The Nadeem gelding made his Australian racing debut with a ninth place finish in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 12 and he is sure to take plenty of benefit from the run.
No three-year-old has won the Moir Stakes since Virage De Fortune took out the 2005 edition of the race, but a number of talented three-year-olds have been included in the final field for the Group 1 event.
Petits Filous has recorded four wins from as many race starts since she made her racing debut with a dominant six lengths victory in the Telstra Phonewords Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on July 15 and Ciaron Maher has elected to give her an opportunity against the older horses in the Moir Stakes after she scored stakes wins in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 15 and the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on September 12.
Fontiton is the other filly in the Moir Stakes field and is set to make her first appearance at the races since she was beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22, while Headwater will take on the horses for the first time after he missed the placings in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15 and the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 12.
The 2015 Moir Stakes field is rounded out by veteran sprinter Rain Affair (barrier 11), Mick Price-trained Le Bonsir, 1000 metres specialist Ball Of Muscle, talented mare Angelic Light, Sir John Monash Stakes winner Miss Promiscuity, the consistent Griante and Kris Lees-trained Brook Road.