Melbourne’s premiership winning trainer Darren Weir has four of the eighteen horses nominated for the Group 2 $200,000 Browns Sawdust And Savings Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Group 1 winners Black Heart Bart, Flamberge and Palentino as well as Winx’s half brother El Divino are Weir’s entries for the early Autumn weight for age sprint.
The former Peter Moody trained Flamberge is the only one of Weir’s quartet that has won at the Moonee Valley track when he took out the Group 1 $500,000 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m) during the 2016 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Weir is happy with the progress of Black Heart Bart and Palentino who pleased him in a barrier trial at Camperdown last Tuesday.
“Black Heart Bart goes for the Australia Stakes, also Palentino,” Weir said at Moonee Valley last Saturday.
“They are great, they both trialled well on Tuesday at Camperdown, went terrific.”
El Divino will be having his first start for the Weir stable when he steps out in the Autumn Carnival after being originally trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
“He’s been here two months. He hasn’t put a foot wrong, I’ve been very, very happy with what I’ve seen. The owners were always keen to have him work at the beach, so Warrnambool plays a big part in his fitness,” Weir said.
El Divino has won twice from five starts, including a win in the Group 3 $200,000 Widden Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival last year but failed to win from three starts during the Spring Carnival and was spelled after running seventh to Spright in the Listed $150,000 Ainsworth Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 15.
Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis has nominated his two Group 1 winners, Malaguerra and Mourinho for the Australia Stakes.
Malaguerra will be having his first start since running fifth to Takedown in the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on November 26 while Mourinho hasn’t raced for eleven months since finishing third to Bow Creek in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
Three times Group 1 winner Turn Me Loose from the New Zealand stables of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman is set to return to Australia for another campaign and will be having his first start since finishing eighth to Malaguerra in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The Lindsay Park Team has nominated last year’s Australia Stakes runner-up Churchill Dancer as well as six year old mare Kay Jay’s Joy while John O’Shea has entered the promising sprinter Chetwood along with the improving three year old Peacock.