*UPDATE: Melito has been scratched from the 2010 Sapphire Stakes in favour of a run in the T J Smith Stakes.
This Saturday the intense racing action of the Sydney autumn carnival moves to the Royal Randwick Racecourse as they host the prestigious AJC Australian Derby day.
The headline race at the meeting is the $1.3million Group 1 David Jones AJC Derby (2400m), but the card also features an excellent line-up of other quality events including the $150,000 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
This year the 2010 Sapphire Stakes will be known and registered as the Lady Sonia McMahon Memorial Stakes and has attracted an 11-horse final field of quality fillies and mares.
One of the most exciting females starting in Saturday’s Sapphire Stakes is the Peter Snowden-trained Beaded, on her way towards Brisbane’s Group 1 Winter Stakes.
The impressive Lonhro mare has won seven of her 10 career starts and is coming off a solid second place to Patronyme in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes last month at Rosehill.
Beaded, starting from barrier five, looks the mare to beat here as Patronyme is missing from the Sapphire Stakes, opting instead to take on the males in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes at the same meeting.
Premier trainer Snowden also prepares Sapphire Stakes runner Renaissance out wider in eight.
Another improving sprinter in with a chance on Saturday is the Gerald Ryan-trained Redoute’s Choice filly Melito who ran third in the Birthday Card Stakes last start.
Classy three-year-old Melito will start on the direct outside of Beaded in barrier six and will be ridden by in-form jockey Hugh Bowman.
Melito has also been nominated for the T J Smith Stakes with Ryan making a decision over the next couple of days which race to run her in.
Rosehill based trainer Ryan also has his four-year-old Choisir mare Beaucoup starting in the Sapphire Stakes on Saturday drawn well in barrier three.
Saturday’s Sapphire Stakes final field is also made up with fourth placegetter in the Birthday Card Stakes Jersey Lily also drawn ideally in barrier two and the Grahame Begg-trained Purrpurrlena in the coveted inside gate.
Other highlight events at Randwick on Saturday will include the $500,000 Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and the $300,000 Group 1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).
The 2010 Lady Sonia McMahon Memorial Stakes, previously known as the Sapphire Stakes, will run as race three on the card and is due to jump at 1:10pm.
2010 Lady Sonia McMahon Memorial Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw:
|John O’Shea||Glen Boss||9||57|
|Gary Portelli||Brenton Avdulla||4||56.5|
|Darren Smith||Blake Shinn||7||56.5|
|Gerald Ryan||Hugh Bowman||6||55.5|
MUSIC REVIEW (GB)
|John O’Shea||Nathan Berry||10||55.5|
|Les Bridge||Jim Cassidy||2||54|
|Grahame Begg||Luke Nolen||1||54|