The 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes field has been released and talented Godolphin import Contributer will have the chance to record a maiden win at Group 1 level at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Contributer won the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) before he finished eighth in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) in his first two race starts in Australia during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he returned to racing with an impressive fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 14.
The Apollo Stakes has always been a key form race for the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and Contributer will have the chance to join the likes of Tuesday Joy (2009), Lonhro (2003), Juggler (1996), Pharaoh (1995) and Emancipation (1984) as horses that have completed the Apollo Stakes/Chipping Norton Stakes double.
Team Hawkes-trained Ninth Legion finished a tough second behind Contributer in the Apollo Stakes and will have the chance to turn-the-tables on his rival in the Chipping Norton Stakes this weekend.
Ninth Legion returned to racing with an impressive win in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on January 24 and he produced arguably the best performance of his career to date to work home strongly down the outside after being caught wide in the Apollo Stakes.
Arguably the most impressive performance in the Apollo Stakes was that of talented mare Lucia Valentina, who flew home from the tail of the field to finish fourth behind Contributer.
Lucia Valentina will relish the step-up to 1600 metres in the Chipping Norton Stakes, but the four-year-old does not have the best second-up record and normally produces the best performance of her campaign third-up.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller has won the past four editions of the Chipping Norton Stakes and he will have eight chances to continue his dominance of the race this weekend.
Boban failed to fire in both the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) and Apollo Stakes, but he took a very similar form pattern into the Chipping Norton Stakes last year and came out and upset the well-backed It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 event.
The Bernardini gelding will be joined in the Chipping Norton Stakes field by stablemates Foreteller, Epsom Handicap winner He’s Your Man, the out-of-form Hawkspur, tough stayer Junoob, Melbourne Cup placegetter Who Shot Thebarman and The Metropolitan winner Opinion.
Talented mare Silent Achiever returned to racing with a promising performance in the Apollo Stakes and trainer Roger James believes that the six-year-old took plenty of benefit from the first-up run.
Silent Achiever will be having her first race start in the Chipping Norton Stakes since she finished fourth behind Shoot Out in the 2013 edition of the race and is chasing her second win over a mile in Australia.
The 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes field is rounded out by injury-plagued Fiveandahalfstar (barrier nine), Team Snowden-trained Disclaimer (barrier six) and Godolphin import Hartnell (barrier 14).