The 2015 Futurity Stakes field has been released and dominant favourite Dissident is set to face seven rivals in the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Dissident started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with a surprise loss in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24, but he returned to his best form with a comfortable win in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14.
The Sebring entire will face a weaker field than the one that he met in the Orr Stakes and he is set to start the Futurity Stakes as an odds-on favourite to record his fifth win at the highest level of racing.
Entirely Platinum produced an impressive performance to finish second behind Dissident in the Orr Stakes and he will have the chance to turn-the-tables on his rival in the Futurity Stakes.
The Pentire gelding failed to fire second-up in the spring and he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), but he still looms as the major danger to Dissident this weekend.
Smokin’ Joey stepped-up to a mile in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14 to record a fast-finishing victory and trainer Wez Hunter has elected to give the Encosta De Lago another opportunity at the highest level of racing.
The veteran gelding failed to fire in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) last year, but is arguably racing in career best form following smart performances in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m), Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and Australia Stakes.
Another horse that will be contesting the Futurity Stakes for the second year in a row is Chris Waller-trained Bull Point.
Bull Point was well-backed in the lead-up to the Futurity Stakes last year, but he could finish no better than fourth and he will need to improve substantially on his flat performance in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 14 to be any chance of recording a maiden win at Group 1 level.
Gai Waterhouse won the 2011 Futurity Stakes with her star mare More Joyous in 2011 and she has the chance to record another win in the event after including Driefontein in the nominations.
Driefontein returned to her best form when she finished a very close second behind Weary in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 31 and she produced another strong effort without winning in the Southern Cross Stakes.
The Fastnet Rock mare is yet to record a win over 1400 metres and she is chasing her first victory since she scored a maiden win at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) last April.
The 2015 Futurity Stakes field is rounded out by the consistent Mister Milton (barrier two), imported galloper Guest Of Honour (barrier three) and resuming mare Suavito (barrier four).