Commanding Jewel and Dear Demi are set to clash again when they line in the Group 2 $200,000 Top Cut Foods Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
The Leon and Troy Corstens trained Commanding Jewel proved too strong for Clarry Connors’ Dear Demi when a neck separated the two mares when first and second in the Group 2 $200,000 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 13.
Commanding Jewel has drawn the outside of the seven horse field with Damien Oliver to ride again while Dear Demi has drawn barrier two with Jim Cassidy to stick with the Dehere mare.
Both mares will appreciate the step up to 1600m at their third run back a spell as they prepare to step up further in distance as the Spring Carnival progresses with both listed in the nominations for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Co-trainer Troy Corstens said that the stable had the option of running Commanding Jewel in the Group 1 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Sunday but opted for the easier assignment against the mares in the Stocks Stakes.
“If we went to the Rupert Clarke, Damien wasn’t available and there was a chance Dissident could run there too so we would be without Ben Melham,” Corstens said.
“We just thought the mares race is an easier target.
“It isn’t a Group 1 race, but it is a Group 2, it is still a good prize money race and it gives us an opportunity to run at Moonee Valley and have a look at the track again before the Cox Plate.
“The Rupert Clarke could potentially be a very strong race and this could be a softer option.”
Connections are expecting the front running Solicit to strip fitter after fading to finish seventh to Commanding Jewel in the Let’s Elope two weeks ago.
Owner David Moodie is reluctant to test Solicit over longer journeys in the Spring even though as a three year old she performed well over a middle distance including a second to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
“She’s come out of the protection of being against three-year-old fillies and now she’s got to compete against all ages and sexes, so her first two or three runs will be pivotal to her future,” Moodie told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Damian Lane is back aboard Solicit replacing the suspended Chad Schofield who partnered the mare at the end of the Autumn and in the Let’s Elope Stakes.
Lane had been Solicit’s regular rider in Melbourne in the early part of the Autumn with the pair collecting two wins at Flemington in the Group 3 $150,000 The Mittys Vanity (1400m) and the Group 2 $220,000 TAB Kewney Stakes (1400m).
The Street Cry mare is certain to take up her usual front running position from gate five although she could be challenged by Rememba Howe who scored over this course and distance in restricted grade at her latest outing on September 6.
Commanding Jewel has been installed the $1.70 favourite for the Stocks Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au with Dear Demi the second pick at $3.60.
Solicit is on the third line of betting at $8 in front of Reckless Assassin at $13, Epingle at $18, Rememba Howe at $26 and Esprit Rossa at $61.