The 2013 Kingston Town Classic final field has been released; with just eleven horses set to contest the $500,000 Group 1 race at Ascot this Saturday.
Headlining the Kingston Town Classic field is the enigmatic Luckygray, who will have the opportunity to complete the Railway Stakes/Kingston Town Classic double and become the just the fourth horse in history to win the race in back-to-back years.
Luckygray failed to fire during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne, missing the placings in all four of his runs, but has returned to his best form since joining the stable of Trevor Andrews in Perth; finishing fourth in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) before recording a historic win in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).
Even Andrews did not rate Luckygray a winning chance in the lead-up to the Railway Stakes, after the gelding drew an outside barrier, but the son of Bradbury’s Luck flew home late to record his third Group 1 victory from Platinum Rocker and Fire Up Fifi.
Luckygray defeated Mr Moet by one and a half lengths to win the 2012 edition of the Kingston Town Classic and Mr Moet will be attempting to turn-the-tables on his rival after being included in the nominations for this year’s race.
Mr Moet was far from disgraced during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing a credible sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and fourth in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), and finished seventh after starting from the outside barrier in the Railway Stakes.
Luckygray and Mr Moet will not be the only horses from the Railway Stakes backing up in the Kingston Town Classic; with Playing God (fifth), God Has Spoken (sixth) and Talent Show (11th) also included in the field for the Group 1 event.
Arguably the most interesting runner in the Kingston Town Classic field is Fred Kersley-trained Ihtsahymn who stamped himself as a Group 1 contender with his impressive victory in the Group 2 Western Australian Guineas (1600m) at Ascot on Super Saturday.
Ihtsahymn had no luck in either the Listed Belgravia Stakes (1200m) or Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m) and was blocked for a run again in the W.A. Guineas but eventually found clear running and flew home late to score his maiden win at Group level.
Kersley, who prepared champion gelding Northerly, admits that it is a tough ask for a three-year-old to compete in the Kingston Town Classic but believes that Ihtsahymn has the ability to join Playing God (2010), Megatic (2007), Old Comrade (2000), Old Nick (1998), Summer Beau (1996) and Old Role (1991) as horses that have won the race in the past 25 years.
Rounding out the 2013 Kingston Town Classic final field are: late Railway Stakes scratching Ranger, Vaughn Sigley-trained Rohan, Tattersall’s Cup winner Black Tycoon and the Grant Williams-trained duo of Moonlight Bay and Elite Belle.
Luckygray ($2.50) is the current favourite in Kingston Town Classic betting markets from Mr Moet ($4.60) and Ihtsahymn ($5) but could be shaken up when the barrier draw is conducted tomorrow.