The Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) is set to have one of its strongest fields in recent memory when it is contested at Newcastle tomorrow.
A number of classy colts that have been competitive at the highest level of racing were included in the final field for the race, with Group 1 Champagne Stakes placegetters Equator and Fuerza the headliners.
Equator started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a disappointing ninth place finish in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) but Waterhouse clearly has a big opinion of the Northern Meteor colt and has included him in the nominations for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
The promising colt was very impressive as a two-year-old, winning at Kembla Grange and Canterbury before finishing third in the Champagne Stakes (1600m), and will appreciate the step back up to a mile at Newcastle tomorrow.
Fuerza finally broke his maiden with a victory at Newcastle last weekend after producing disappointing performances in the Big Sports Breakfast Plate (1100m) at Canterbury and the Group 3 Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm.
The Snippetson colt raced inconsistently as a juvenile but looked to be at his best over a mile, finishing second in the Listed Adina Hotels Fernhill Quality (1600m) and the Champagne Stakes.
Another horse coming out of the Up And Coming Stakes is Chris Waller-trained Vilanova who finished third in the race before finishing tenth in the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m).
The three-year-old is still chasing his first victory in Australia after finishing second in both the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) and Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce (1200m) during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Carnival – form that was franked when Zoustar won the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Other interesting runners include Peter Moody-trained Stamina, undefeated Rockabill and Patinack Farm-owned Hooked.
The 2012 edition of the Spring Stakes was won in dominant fashion by Proisir who went on to finish second in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) and eighth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).