Barriers to decide what venue Eclair Choice goes to

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The all-important barrier draw will help trainer Phillips Stokes decide if his promising three year old Eclair Choice heads to Moonee Valley or stays at home and races at Morphettville on the weekend.

Hucklebuck, red and purple, was one of three winners trainer Phillip Stokes saddled up at Flemington at his latest visit to Melbourne on November 8. Photo by  Sarah Ebbett.

Hucklebuck, red and purple, was one of three winners trainer Phillip Stokes saddled up at Flemington at his latest visit to Melbourne on November 8. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Stokes is looking for a breakthrough win for Eclair Choice after the gelding has been in the runner’s up stall at his last three starts and has entered him in the $80,000 Super Three-Year-Old BenchMark78 Handicap (1200m) at Moonee Valley and the $35,000 Haigh’s BenchMark70 Handicap (1100m) at Morphettville.

“He’s just had one of those campaigns,” Stokes told Racing.com.

“He goes half-alright, but he carries big weights over here and he’s just kept running into a better one.”

“I do think he’s got a Melbourne win in him, though.”

The better prizemoney on offer at Moonee Valley is very tempting but Stokes will accept in the three year old races at both venues on Wednesday morning and then make his call when the barriers are released.

“Obviously Moonee Valley (is the preference) because it’s worth $80,000,” Stokes said.

“We’ll definitely be accepting there, but we’ll also be accepting at Morphettville. We’ll just see barriers and the strength of both races will determine which way we go.”

Eclair Choice has been given 58.5kgs at Moonee Valley and will be coming up against a handy field of three year olds including the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra trained Rough Justice (60kgs) who has also been in the runner’s up stall at his last two starts at Flemington and Moonee Valley.

Chis Waller has entered Thorn Park colt Bascule who was a winner at Warwick Farm and on the Kensington track in Sydney before a spell and Our Kaboom (57kgs) from the Ken Keys stable is also among the entries.

And Inkulu will be one of the first runners champion trainer Lee Freedman will saddle up after teaming back up with his brother Anthony in a new training partnership.

Eclair Choice has been allotted 60kg in the BenchMark70 at Morphettville and the opposition will be markedly easier than at Moonee Valley.

Stokes has been having an outstanding run of success of late and hopes his luck continues after saddling up a winning treble on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival on November 8.

Stokes took three horses to Flemington and returned home to Adelaide with three trophies after wins with Hucklebuck in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m), Eclair Big Bang in the $100,000 Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m) and Held Hostage in the $100,000 SecondBite Plate (2000m).

Hucklebuck also won the Group 3 $200,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington the previous Saturday on Derby Day.

“I don’t know how much longer we can keep that sort of form going, but they’re racing well and we’re placing them right,” Stokes said.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.


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