The 2014 Starlight Stakes field has been released and a strong field of 13 sprinters are set to contest the Listed event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Our Boy Malachi put together an amazing streak of 11 race wins in Gympie, Rockhampton, Mackay and Brisbane while under the care of John O’Sing and he made his Sydney racing debut with an impressive victory over Zaratone in the Turner Freeman Lawyers Handicap (1100m).
The Top Echelon gelding suffered just his second defeat when he had his only previous start at Listed level in the Bribie Handicap (1110m) at Doomben earlier this year, but he is set to start the Starlight Stakes as a clear favourite despite drawing towards the outside of the field.
Another horse that will be taking winning form into the Starlight Stakes is Gerald Ryan-trained Dothraki, who has impressed in his new race starts since being gelded at the end of his 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival preparation.
Dothraki returned to the races with a close second behind You’ll Never in the Men Of League Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on October 25 before he recorded the fourth race win of his career in the Whyte & Gilmour Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 15.
Team Cummings-trained Shamalia is another last start winner in the Starlight Stakes field after she took out the Caravan Industry Association Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on November 14, while Senta De Noche led all the way in the Hunter Valley Horse Handicap (1150m) on the Randwick Kensington track last Saturday.
Aeronautical has not recorded a race win since he took out the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1150m) at Randwick on December 14 last year, but the Encosta De Lago gelding will carry the top weight of 59 kilograms in the Starlight Stakes.
The six-year-old returned to racing with a disappointing sixth place finish in the Listed Tatts Club Lightning (1100m) at Royal Randwick on October 18, but he produced a much improved performance when he took out a barrier trial over 1030 metres by three lengths at Rosehill Gardens on November 13.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2014 Starlight Stakes field is David Payne-trained Lilliburlero, who will be returning to Sydney racing after she finished an unlucky third behind Vain Queen in the Group 3 Mumm Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on November 6.
Lilliburlero has not recorded a race win since she scored an impressive victory in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 22 at Royal Randwick on February 22, but her Mumm Stakes run indicates that she has returned to racing in excellent form.
Former Hong Kong galloper Straight Gold, the resuming Testarhythm, David Pfieffer-trained Cradle Me, Peter Moody-trained High Esteem, Fare Well and Holder Sunset round out the Starlight Stakes field.