The 2015 Let’s Elope Stakes nominations have been released and imported mare Noble Protector is set to contest the Group 2 event that will be held at Flemington on Saturday.
Noble Protector made her Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Contributer in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18 last year before she finished fourth in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 8, but she stamped herself as one of the most talented mares in the country during her autumn campaign.
The Robert Smerdon-trained mare returned to racing with a dominant four and a half lengths victory in the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) at Flemington on March 14 and she cantered to an effortless victory in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 27.
Noble Protector made her Group 1 debut in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 11, but she was caught wide throughout the race, but she was still able to hit the line strongly to finish third behind Amanpour and Catkins.
Another talented mare that is set to return to the races in the Let’s Elope Stakes is Fenway, who finished third behind Thunder Lady in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Fenway started her autumn campaign with credible efforts in both the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 and the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) at the same venue on March 14 before she upset First Seal to score a boil over win in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28.
The daughter of High Chaparral did not take her place in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 11, but she was only narrowly denied a second straight Group 1 victory by Delicacy in the Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 2.
The majority of the Let’s Elope Stakes field is set to have a fitness edge over both Noble Protector and Fenway and the Cockram Stakes is set to be the key form guide to the Let’s Elope Stakes
Madam Gangster scored a narrow win in the Cockram Stakes and she will have the chance to score another win over the likes of Cosmic Endeavour, Girl Guide, May’s Dream, Vezalay and Vibrant Rouge.
Amicus, Jessy Belle, Lady Cumquat, Lucky Lago, Miss Rose De Lago, Sardaaj, Tawteen and Platinum Rocker are among the other horses that have been included in the 2015 Let’s Elope Stakes.