Last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival star Dissident has drawn near the outside of the small field in the Group 2 $200,000 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Trainer Peter Moody had also entered Dissident’s stablemate Moment Of Change but the three times Group 1 winner is likely to kick off his Melbourne Autumn Carnival campaign on Monday at Sandown in the Listed $120,000 W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m).
Dissident is returning from a three month ban after suffering a bleeding attach when sixth to Fawkner in the Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 11 and has drawn barrier seven in the nine horse field with jockey Ben Melham retaining the ride after the pair combined to win a Group 1 double during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The Sebring four year old scored a two and quarter lengths win over the Gai Waterhouse trained Sweet Idea in the Group 1 $400,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 then he had to dig deep to hold out Fawkner and Puissance De Lune in the $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13.
Dissident is also the winner of the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival and has a bright future ahead as a stallion when he takes up duties at Newgate Farm in the Hunter Valley in the Spring.
Group 1 Goodwood winner Smokin’ Joey has drawn nicely at two and is certain to settle near the tail of the field as is his normal racing pattern.
Top Perth apprentice Chris Parnham has been given the job of steering the Wez Hunter trained seven year after regular rider Ben Melham elected to stick with Dissident.
2014 Australia Stakes winner Richie’s Vibe has been unplaced from three runs since his narrow win last year but trainer Paul Beshara is hoping for a return to form with Damien Oliver to ride from barrier three.
“He’s had a few gallops, his trackwork has been good. He’s not a horse you need to jump out or trial,” Beshara told TVN.
“He’s a horse that comes to hand very quickly. I’m happy with him.”
The Robbie Griffiths trained It Is Written has drawn barrier six with Matthew Allen to ride and has shown his liking for this track and distance with six wins and five placings from fifteen attempts including a last start win on December 12.