Talented New Zealand filly Bounding has been included in the 2014 Royal Sovereign Stakes field and is set to make her Australian racing debut in the Group 2 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Bounding made her racing debut with wins over Vilanova and Ruud Awakening at the end of 2012 and stepped up to Group level for the first time with a second place finish behind Recite in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) on February 23 last year before finishing second in the Group 1 Hanui Farm Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie a fortnight later.
The Lonhro filly started her spring campaign with three straight victories, including wins in the Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m), and she finished an unlucky second in the Group 1 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park before scoring a brave victory at Group 1 level in the Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Bounding returned to the races with a strong win in the Group 3 Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 8 and will jump from the outside barrier with regular jockey Mark Du Plessis on his back in the Royal Sovereign Stakes.
Another three-year-old taking winning form into the 2014 Royal Sovereign Stakes is Darley colt Sidestep, who will jump from barrier five on Saturday.
Sidestep was an exciting juvenile performer, winning the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) and finishing second in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but failed to fire in five starts during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Exceed And Excel colt returned to the races with a promising second behind Shamalia in the Listed Fireball Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on March 15 and he returned to the winners circle with a narrow win over Bound For Earth in the Listed Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29.
Sidestep will be joined in the 2014 Royal Sovereign Stakes field by stablemate Safeguard, who will be returning to the races for the first time since he finished eighth behind Aeronautical in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1150m) at the Randwick Kensington track on December 14 last year.
Other exciting runners in the 2014 Royal Sovereign Stakes final field include Gerald Ryan-trained Dothraki (barrier three), last star winner Havana (barrier 11), Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua (barrier nine), Dato’ Tan Chin Nam-owned Shamalia (barrier 2) and Surround Stakes winner Thump (barrier 7).