Greg Eurellis expecting another strong showing from his three year olds Force Command and Hosting when they come up against each other again in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington tomorrow.
Hosting was heavily supported at his first run back from a spell but could only manage to finish third to Peter Moody’s Royal Haunt who was able to lead all of the way in the Listed $120,000 TROA Supports National Jockeys’ Trust Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 2.
Force Command surprised Eurell with a strong finish to chop stablemate Hosting out of second place and is hoping both three year olds can improve on their first up efforts.
Hosting went into the Manfred with plenty of hype but couldn’t match it with Royal Haunt who raced away to score by four and a quarter lengths.
“I’m just glad his first-up run is out of the way now,” Eurell said.
“He’s come through it very well. He did get really fired-up behind the barriers too, so we had a few things not perfect there first-up.”
Chris Symons, who has only recently return to race riding after suffering a broken foot, replaces Craig Williams who has taken the ride on the Michael Kent trained Philippi.
Symons is no stranger to Hosting having ridden the three year old in two barrier trials as well as winning on him at his first race start at Mornington last August.
From barrier three, Symons will be able to get the perfect run on Hosting behind Royal Haunt who is the one to beat again.
While Force Command with Dwayne Dunn aboard again will be able to get a good run just off the pace.
“Hosting has drawn a good gate so that gives us a chance to tuck him in behind and settle a bit, hopefully then run on nicely,” Eurell said.
Eurell was pleased to see Force Command get to the line strongly at Caulfield and the three year old is starting to live up to Eurell’s expectations after three unplaced runs.
“He never really did what we thought he could in the Spring, but it was a good run first-up and hopefully he can keep running up to the level we know he can,” Eurell said.
Kent won’t be too upset if Philippi loses his unbeaten record over the 1400m and is looking to bigger goals later on in the Autumn after winning all three starts to date.
“I’m happy with the horse but it should be too short for him,” Kent said.
“It’s the only option for us to start with and the ten furlongs is where he needs to be.”
“He has come back really well and as long as he hits the line well I will be happy but when he gets up to Sydney that is where he will come into his own.”
Kent is looking to Sydney’s three year old feature races for Philippi, the Group 1 $500,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 30 and the Group 1 $1.5m ATC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 13 during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.