Rosehill trackman John Moc is tipping an upset win in the Listed $100,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday with outsider Mecir.
The Team Hawkes trained Mecir has been out of form of late but Moc was impressed with the six year old’s Warwick Farm barrier trial fourth last Thursday following his two unplaced runs in Melbourne during the Spring Carnival.
“Mecir was unplaced at his two runs in Melbourne but has arrived back in terrific shape for the Hawkes Team and is my pick to win the Festival,” Moc wrote in his Sportsman column.
“He was unextended in his 808m trial when fourth to Diamond Oasis at Warwick Farm in a slick 46.40 on November 20.”
After finishing last of fourteen as favourite in the Listed $200,000 Emirates Park Scone Cup (1600m) at Scone on May 16, Mecir was spelled before heading to Melbourne for the same result, finishing at the tail of the field in the Listed $120,000 italktravel Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 15.
The Lonhro gelding was then beaten five and a half lengths when eleventh of eleven behind Hucklebuck in the Group 3 $200,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on November 1 before heading back to Sydney.
Top Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn will be making a rare out of Carnival time trip to Sydney with Mecir being one of his five rides.
While Dunn admits that Mecir’s form has been well below par, he is not writing off the gelding returning to form back on his home turf.
“Mecir has been disappointing but obviously he’s been to a pretty high level but he has been disappointing his last two starts,” Dunn said.
“Maybe Mecir getting back to Sydney might be able to change that around.”
While Mecir’s latest form might look poor, he does have a victory over Festival Stakes fancy Strawberry Boy when he won the Group 3 $125,000 Enviropacific Newmarket Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle in March earlier in the year.
Dunn’s other Rosehill rides for the Hawkes Team are former North Queensland sprinter Our Boy Malachi in the Listed $100,000 Starlight Stakes (1100m), first starter Regeese in the $85,000 taab.com.au Plate (1100m) for the two year olds and last start winner Lockroy in the $85,000 De Bortoli Wins Handicap (1200m).
Peter Moody has also snapped up Dunn to ride Metaphorical in the Listed $100,000 ATC Cup (2000m).
Mecir is currently listed as one of the outsiders of the Festival Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au at $26 with Queensland Guineas winner Sir Moments heading the market order at $4.40 ahead of the John O’Shea trained Generalife at $4.80.
Strawberry Boy is next in the betting at $8 ahead of Heart Testa and Mouro at $9.50, Monton and Estonian Princess at $11 and Aomen at $13.