A total of 25 classy runners have been included in nominations for Saturday’s Group 2 Tramway Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick; highlighted by the pending appearance of several previous winners at the highest level of Australian racing.
First Seal was scratched from the 2015 Warwick Stakes final field a fortnight ago after the Randwick surface experienced rain in the days leading up to jump, but John Thompson has included the four-year-old in 2015 Tramway Stakes nominations.
Finishing outside the first three only twice in eleven career starts, the Fastnet Rock filly announced herself as one to watch through a standout 2014 Spring Carnival preparation; highlighted by wins in each of the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m), and a close second in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
Returning this year for a close second in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m), First Seal returned to the winner’s circle in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) on February 28th before finishing second in each of the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
Kris Lees saddled Lucia Valentina to success in the 2014 edition of the Tramway Stakes and is set to launch a two-pronged attack on this year’s race after including both the carry-over champ and Protectionist in nominations.
Lucia Valentina made an immediate impact upon debuting for Lees during the 2014 Autumn Carnival; winning the Vinery Stud Stakes and finishing third in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) most notably.
Producing a monumental turn of foot to take out the Tramway Stakes first-up in spring, the Savabeel mare continued to impress; taking out the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) most notably before running an impressive third in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
While unable to make much of a competitive impact through the recent autumn season, other than a credible third in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), Lucia Valentina has reportedly taken great benefit from her time in the paddock and is primed for a competitive return.
Melbourne Cup hero Protectionist was also unable to reach peak form through autumn, and returned to the paddock after suffering an injury during the running of the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
Gold Coast trainer Helen Page has set stable star Rudy for the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in early October, and has included the gelding in nominations for a Sydney return in the 2015 Tramway Stakes.
Earning ballot-free entry into the Doncaster Mile after taking out the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) in summer, Rudy returned this year for a close second in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on February 28th, and while unable to figure in his next two starts, ran an impressive fourth in his major target.
Having run on for third in a Doomben minor over 1350m a fortnight ago, Page is confident the son of Red Dazzler has taken priceless condition from the run.
Godolphin Australia are set to dominate the final field for the 2015 Tramway Stakes after trainer John O’Shea included a total of five runners in nominations, including It’s Somewhat and Sweynesse.
Arriving prior to autumn from the care of British trainer Mark Johnston, It’s Somewhat charged home to win the Liverpool City Cup but failed to fire in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and returned to the paddock.
A strong and consistent performer amongst his own age group as a three-year-old, Sweynesse is twice placed at the highest level and is a noted first-up performer.
The 2015 Tramway Stakes final field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
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2015 Tramway Handicap Nominations
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||x10x86690x||ARABIAN GOLD||M||5||Gai Waterhouse||103|
|2||383x8431x7||BEST CASE (NZ)||G||5||Anthony Cummings||91|
|4||122x96834x||CELTIC PRINCE (NZ)||G||6||Bjorn Baker||93|
|5||x114x2614x||ECUADOR (NZ)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse||102|
|6||3136x5979x||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||G||7||Noel Mayfield-Smith||107|
|7||112x21226x||FIRST SEAL||M||4||John P Thompson||107|
|8||241411x82x||FLAMINGO STAR (GER)||H||6||Chris Waller||105|
|9||0x3439138x||GYPSY DIAMOND||M||5||Peter & Paul Snowden||100|
|11||1315x4700x||HOOKED||H||5||John P Thompson||103|
|12||73350x19x8||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||G||5||John O’Shea||104|
|13||211x6650x5||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||M||5||John Sargent||102|
|14||84x630210x||LEEBAZ (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|15||130x49376x||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||M||5||Kris Lees||109|
|17||117x299x53||MESSENE||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|18||0365236333||NEVER BACK DOWN||G||5||Jim & Greg Lee||61|
|19||1141x6857x||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||H||6||Kris Lees||114|
|21||036x12212x||SENSE OF OCCASION||G||5||Joseph Pride||95|
|22||1332x5611x||STRAWBERRY BOY||G||7||Chris Waller||106|
|25||36211375×1||WORTHY CAUSE||H||4||John Zielke||87|