Gary Kennewell-trained Conservatorium will have the chance to end his Perth campaign with a victory in the Group 3 Scahill Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Conservatorium finished fifth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 27 and seventh in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival before winning the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 9.
The Royal Academy gelding went into the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 23 as one of the best backed runners in the field but was trapped wide and twisted a plate during the race before finishing eighth.
Conservatorium is dropping down in class and back to his preferred distance; with the six-year-old expected to start the Group 3 event as the clear favourite.
Also backing up from the Railway Stakes is veteran gelding Grand Nirvana who is chasing his second victory in the Scahill Stakes after defeating Waratah’s Secret and Grey Monarch to win the 2011 edition of the race.
Grand Nirvana has raced consistently in the past eighteen months, finishing fifth in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) and fourth in the R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) this campaign, but has been unable to record a race win since his Scahill Stakes triumph and beat home just a single runner in the Railway Stakes.
Grand Nirvana is joined in the Scahill Stakes final field by stablemate Operational who will be stepping up to Group level for the first time in his racing career.
Operational had fourteen starts, in what was a length autumn and summer campaign earlier this year, and worked through the graces impressively; recording victories in the Pink’s Touch Free Handicap (2200m), Amelia Park Handicap (2000m) and the Reed Resources Handicap (2100m).
Bunbury-based Kerrific produced arguably the best run of his career to finish fourth behind Luckygray, in the Railway Stakes, despite over racing in the early stages of the race, and is expected to be well supported in Scahill Stakes betting markets
Kerrific started her summer campaign with a ninth place finish in the Lee Steere Stakes after missing the start but returned to his best form with a strong victory in the Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot on November 16.
Rounding out the Scahill Stakes final field are: Luke’s Luck, The Corporation, Watermans Bay, Dominating and Power Princess.