The 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes field has been released and Group 1 winner Famous Seamus will have the opportunity to return to winning form in the $150,000 event.
Famous Seamus started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a solid fifth in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12 and he was fourth behind Terravista in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 3, but he did not have a great deal of luck in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 17.
The seven-year-old looked as though he was going to factor in the finish of the Group 3 Guvera Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 31, but he was caught in the worst part of the track and could finish no better than sixth.
Trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith told Racing Ahead this morning that he has been very happy with the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he is hopeful that the Elusive Quality gelding will finally receive a change of luck in the 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes.
“We have been very happy with him all through the spring,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“They turned for home and you would think that under normal circumstances you would just go on from there and he was full of running, but he just hit a flat sport.
“I thought it was a really top run and I was really happy with it.
“Kathy O’Hara said to me that he was much happier at Flemington than he was at Caulfield and he felt as he had in Sydney.
“He was quite happy to let down.”
The only other Group 1 winner that has been included in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes field is Smokin’ Joey, who has not been seen at the races since he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15.
Smokin’ Joey was scratched at the barriers in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and he the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington a fortnight later before a spider bite curtailed trainer Wez Hunter’s plans to run the veteran gelding in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on Saturday.
Hunter is confident that the Encosta De Lago gelding has taken no harm from the setbacks and he hit the line well to finish second in a barrier trial at Cranbourne on November 9.
The 2015 Kevin Heffernan Stakes is rounded out by Generalife, Under The Louvre, Gracious Prospect, Mister Milton, Taddei Tondo, Java, Galaxy Pegasus, Bring Me The Maid and In Style.