Premier trainer Darren Weir will saddle up four runners in Friday night’s 2019 Group 2 $200,000 Australia Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.
Weir’s multiple Group 1 winner Brave Smash will lead the field out with Michael Walker in the saddle and the Japanese import will jump from barrier nine in the ten horse Australia Stakes field.
Damian Lane rides stablemate Land Of Plenty from barrier six, Fifty Stars will jump from gate three with apprentice Ben Allen on top while the in-form Whispering Brook has drawn the best of the Weir quartet at barrier two with Mark Zahra in charge of the reins.
Weir is keen on the chances of Whispering Brook who has the benefit of recent racing as compared to his other runners who will all be first up on Friday night.
“She’s had a couple of runs under her belt. I would say she will have the fitness edge,” Weir told racing.com.
Whispering Brook has won both her races at Flemington since resuming from a spell and was a first up winner over 1100m on December 15 and then followed that up with a win in the Group 3 $160,000 Standish Handicap (1200m) on New Year’s Day.
The lightly raced Fifty Stars will be having his first run back after winning the Group 3 $150,000 Araza Sandown Stakes (1500m) at Ladbrokes Park at Sandown at the end of the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival and has a good fresh record.
Brave Smash and Land Of Plenty were both Group 1 winners during the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival and will add plenty of depth to the Australia Stakes field.
Brave Smash was the winner of the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley while Land Of Plenty took the honours in the Group 1 $500,000 Aquis Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
Lindsay Park’s two times Newmarket Handicap winner Redkirk Warrior has drawn barrier eight with Regan Bayliss aboard while 2017 Australia Stakes winner Malaguerra will jump from gate seven for Ben Melham.
Final field for 2019 Australia Stakes (1200m)
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||70x332818x||BRAVE SMASH (JPN)||Darren Weir||Michael Walker||9||58.5kg||114|
|2||0x11x00x0x||REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss||8||58.5kg||116|
|3||80x598x513||FELL SWOOP||Matthew Dale||Kerrin McEvoy||1||58.5kg||106|
|4||670x730x03||MALAGUERRA||Peter Gelagotis||Ben Melham||7||58.5kg||111|
|5||311x21314x||LAND OF PLENTY||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||6||58.5kg||110|
|6||21x361221x||MANUEL||Tony McEvoy||Luke Currie||10||58.5kg||95|
|7||818×511303||RUNSON||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||4||58.5kg||98|
|8||1111x2211x||FIFTY STARS (IRE)||Darren Weir||Ben Allen (a)||3||58.5kg||98|
|9||60x1415x11||WHISPERING BROOK||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||2||56.5kg||107|
|10||x681001021||PRINCESS OF QUEENS||Mick Price||Dwayne Dunn||5||56.5kg||95|