A talented list of ten runners have been confirmed in the 2015 Challenge Stakes (1000m) final field, highlighted by the inclusion of several previous winners at the highest level of Australian racing.
Following the removal of leading sprinter Deep Field with a view towards different Autumn Carnival events, Team Hawkes will be represented by just one runner, Mossfun, in the 2015 Challenge Stakes.
The standout two-year-old of the 2014 autumn, Mossfun charged home to win the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) before hitting the line more than four lengths in the clear in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m).
Suffering her first competitive defeat when second in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m), Mossfun responded in the best way possible when charging home to take out the major Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5th.
Returning for sixth in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) on February 14th, the Hawkes’ are confident the conditions of the Challenge Stakes will play into the strengths of Mossfun this weekend.
Famous Seamus secured a maiden Group 1 victory in 2014, and has been confirmed for a racing resumption in Saturday’s 2015 Challenge Stakes.
Returning for a credible third in the 2014 edition of the Challenge Stakes, Famous Seamus appeared drastically outclassed when failing to figure in either of the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) or Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m), but responded well upon arriving in Brisbane and taking out the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
Posting minor place finishes in each of the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) and Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and winning the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) most notably over spring, the Elusive City gelding has reportedly taken well to his time in the paddock and return to work and is in great condition ahead of the Challenge Stakes.
Talented colt Rubick won the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) over similar conditions first-up in spring and is a leading chance for success in the 2015 Challenge Stakes after drawing the ideal barrier 4.
Taking out each of his first two competitive starts including the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude C&G (1100m), Rubick left as favourite in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), but faded late to finish fourth.
Confirmed to be partnered by jockey Kerrin McEvoy, Rubick is aiming to continue his perfect run of first-up victories this weekend.
Group 1 winner Miracles Of Life has been allocated the ideal barrier 1, while Queenslander Soldi Domani has been charged with overcoming the wide and awkward barrier 10 in the 2015 Challenge Stakes.
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2015 Challenge Stakes Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||5190x3136x||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||Tim Clark||5||58.5kg||110|
|2||136x090x3x||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Tye Angland||3||58.5kg||105|
|3||x11133250x||KNOYDART||John O’Shea||James McDonald||7||58.5kg||104|
|4||114540x25x||VA PENSIERO||Jason Coyle||Jason Collett||8||58.5kg||95|
|5||x62210x17x||MIRACLES OF LIFE||Peter & Paul Snowden||–||1||56.5kg||105|
|6||0x1384x69x||VILLA VERDE||Anthony Cummings||Blake Shinn||9||56.5kg||104|
|7||x21021x246||NUCLEAR CLASS||Tas Morton||–||2||56.5kg||89|
|8||114x10x||RUBICK||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||4||56kg||103|
|9||26127x418x||SOLDI DOMANI||Bryan Dais||Larry Cassidy||10||56kg||75|
|10||1x1121x6||MOSSFUN||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||6||54kg||105|