Previously slated for last Saturday’s Caulfield race card, the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) was called off when stewards deemed that the wind buffeting the racecourse was too strong and caused a safety risk to horses, riders and spectators.
A vital point of call for several sprinters targeting early Spring Carnival black type races, the Bletchingly Stakes has been rescheduled to run on Sunday’s Grand National Hurdle Day card at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown).
Former race favourite Supido has been withdrawn from the original Bletchingly Stakes field along with South Australian raider Daytona Grey, while enigmatic sprinter Lord Of The Sky has accepted into the field for Sunday’s rescheduled race.
The Bletchingly Stakes Form Guide is essential reading for racing fans and punters ahead of Sunday’s rescheduled sprint.
Champion sprinter Lankan Rupee will make his first appearance of 2017 in the Bletchingly Stakes field and cannot be underestimated. The five-time Group 1 champion’s career has been plagued by injury through recent years, but he has still managed several outstanding performances and results amongst tougher company than this and he has trialled well in the lead-up to the Bletchingly Stakes. Third in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) and fourth in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) last spring, there is still plenty of fight in the Redoute’s Choice gelding, he will be partnered by regular hoop Craig Newitt and will be tough to beat under the conditions on Sunday.
Lord Of The Sky
Lord Of The Sky failed to fire first-up in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m), but he is the defending Bletchingly Stakes winner and should take wholesale improvement into Sunday second-up. Unlucky not to have posted a maiden win at the highest level, the Danerich entire has produced several outstanding performances and results throughout his twenty-six starts, but has been plagued by injury and unable to ever completely live up to his obvious ability. Drawn ideally in barrier 6, the horse should have no issue taking up the early running.
Keen Array is another horse that is yet to compete in 2017, but is a Group 1 quality sprinter and not without a chance in the Bletchingly Stakes. The Bel Esprit gelding posted consecutive wins in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) and Listed Caulfield Village Stakes (1200m) in spring, before placing a credible fourth in the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m). Co-trainer David Hayes is confident that the horse will be far better second-up and may need this run before finding winning form.
Former Hong Kong galloper Divine Ten appears to be hitting peak form ahead of the Bletchingly Stakes and is undoubtedly over the odds at his current long quote. The Holy Roman Emperor gelding failed to beat a runner home during his first two starts in Australia through January and February, but resumed for a commendable fourth in the Sir John Monash Stakes. The veteran will have to show some speed early to cross the field and take up the running from barrier 10, but he represents great value as an each-way chance.
Popular veteran Charmed Harmony failed to fire last time out, but produced several strong performances and results prior and is always a threat in a race like the Bletchingly Stakes. Requiring a couple of runs to find form this time, the Hussonet gelding ran second in both the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) and Listed Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1440m) leading into his flop in the Lloyd Williams Hall Of Fame Trophy (1400m). The seven-year-old has had a freshen-up and will also need to cross the field to find a position on pace from barrier 8.
The second horse confirmed in the Bletchingly Stakes field for David Hayes and the Lindsay Park team, Tashbeeh failed to produced much on the Flemington straight last time out, but should enjoy a return to racing with a bend. The five-year-old has been a strong and consistent performer throughout much of his thirty-two start career and resumed this time for a comfortable win in the Listed Straight Six (1200m) on May 20th, in what was his only other start prior to his miss last time out.
Duke Of Bunswick
Duke Of Brunswick produced a strong run first-up, but is difficult to know how he will fare against company of this quality and it would take a career-best run to walk away the Bletchingly Stakes winner. The Magnus gelding worked home well to finish second behind fellow Bletchingly Stakes acceptor Ability in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Final (1200m) three weeks ago, but was well beaten and probably cannot make up this distance into this race.
Murt The Flirt
Murt The Flirt is reasonably inconsistent, but is more than capable of a big performance on his day and cannot ever be completely counted out. Third in the Magic Millions Sprint (1200m) on the Gold Coast most notably in January, the Murtajill gelding resumed for third in the Sir John Monash Stakes and will again be partnered by Chris Symons on Sunday, from the outside barrier.
Former Perth galloper Chocolate Holic will have his first start for Darren Weir in the Bletchingly Stakes and if the form he displayed in his last campaign is anything to go by, he is a live chance of winning first-up on Saturday. Saddled by leading Perth trainer Grant Williams, the Blackfriars gelding won both the Listed Northam Cup (1600m) and Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m) and finished second behind subsequent Group 1 winner Vega Magic in the Group 3 AJ Scahill Stakes (1400m) most notably in the Perth summer. Damian Lane will take the ride on Chocolate Holic from barrier 3.
Santa Ana Lane
Santa Ana Lane is another horse that has shown ability by the barrow full, but has never quite been able to string together several top-line performances and he would need to find his best to win the Bletchingly Stakes. A dominant winner of the Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on May 4th, Santa Ana Lane ran on for a credible fifth in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), but failed to fire in the Bruce Gadsden Handicap (1000m) last time out on June 10th.
Ability has been outstanding since he was gelded and he is a leading chance of winning the Bletchingly Stakes on Sunday. Ability has always shown plenty of class, but he has come right on this season and is undefeated through three starts, including his comfortable win in the All Victorian Sprint Final last time out. Victorian Jockeys Premiership winner Craig Williams will now not ride Ability, but he will not lose anything with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle.
Classy Queensland filly Savanna Amour has been impressive in 2017 and is not without a chance of winning the Bletchingly Stakes. Third in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) and winner of the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) in autumn, the Love Conquers All filly had one start in winter for a win in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m). This is an interesting placement by trainer John Meagher and Savanna Amour is up to the class.