The picture for the 2013 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) will be a lot clearer on Saturday; with a number of the leading contenders for the Group 1 event set to clash in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Headlining the field for the Gloaming Stakes is current Spring Champion Stakes favourite Drago who has raced well without winning in his two starts so far this preparation.
The Danehill Dancer colt started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fast-finishing second behind War in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm on August 24 and finished ninth in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), producing a run that indicated that he would relish a step-up in distance.
While Drago is expected to start the Gloaming Stakes as a clear favourite he is set to face stiff competition in the form of John O’Shea-trained Savvy Nature.
Savvy Nature returned to the races with an unlucky third behind Stamina and Bull Point in a three-year-old handicap race at Rosehill Gardens on August 31 before stamping himself as a horse to watch with his impressive victory in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle last Wednesday.
O’Shea was delighted with the win and said after the race that he believes the Savabeel gelding is good enough to win both the Spring Champion Stakes and the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
“Hopefully he will get the 2000 metres of the Spring Champion Stakes then I would love to get him to Flemington over a mile and a half,” O’Shea said.
“I think he will make a Derby horse.”
Also backing up from the Spring Stakes this weekend will be Bjorn Baker-trained Fuerza, Commands colt Vilanova, Patinack Farm-owned Hooked, David Payne-trained Dowdstown Charlie and the lightly-raced Diamondrocker.
The Gloaming Stakes has been the key lead-up race for the Spring Champion Stakes in recent years; with Erewhon (2010), Doctor Doom (2011) and It’s A Dundeel (2012) all running in the Group 3 event before their victories in the Spring Champion Stakes.