The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the final Group 1 race of the year, the $1 million weight-for-age Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. Black Heart Bart, who will be chasing his sixth Group 1 victory, is the current $3.40 TAB fixed odds favourite for the race, ahead of Godolphin import It's Somewhat at $4.60 and local mare Perfect Jewel at $6. Perennial bridesmaid Tom Melbourne is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8. The field is:
At Flemington in Melbourne, Inglewood Stud's beautifully bred Gr2-winning & Gr1-placed stallion Zacinto (Dansili-Itacha, by Distant View) added a black-type success when 4YO bay gelding Odeon (Zacinto-Theatre Buff, by Theatrical) broke through for a well-deserved maiden stakes victory in the $150,000 Listed James Boag's Premium Stakes (1800m) for 3YO+, defeating Life Less Ordinary & Second Bullet. Odeon, a $77,500 purchase at the 2015 NZ Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Valachi Downs, improved his record to 6 wins and 3 placings (including the Gr1 South Australian Derby & Listed Adelaide Guineas) from 16 starts for $384,035 in earnings. Co-trainer Matthew Ellerton was so taken with the performance that he said he may run Odeon again in the Gr1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday. "He's hit his straps now that he has got out to his right trip…he was very impressive today," Ellerton told racing.com. "I will see how he pulls up. I might back him up on Saturday. There are a few options with him." Odeon is a direct descendent of Terlingua, dam of champion US stallion Storm Cat, and a half-sister to dual Gr1-winning sprinter and top sire Royal Academy.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, 6YO Irish-bred gelding Libran (Lawman-True Crystal, by Sadler's Wells) claimed the fourth stakes victory of his career when finishing too strong for his rivals in the $150,000 Gr3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mates Antonio Giuseppe & Life Less Ordinary. Owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Australia, Libran improved his record to 9 wins (including the Gr2 Chairman's Handicap, Gr3 ATC Manion Cup & Listed Randwick City Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Sydney Cup) from 26 starts for $998,852 in earnings.
At Wagga in the NSW Riverina, deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) added a black-type success when 4YO entire Stampede (High Chaparral-Nothin' Leica Cat, by Tale of the Cat) registered his maiden stakes victory in the $150,000 Listed Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Life Less Ordinary & Cool Chap. An $80,000 purchase by G Waterhouse, James Harron and Round Table Racing at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud, Stampede improved his record to 4 wins and 3 placings from 8 starts for $198,600 earnings.
A big Sydney contingent is targeting tomorrow's Wagga Gold Cup (2000m), led by the champion trainer Chris Waller, reports racingnsw.com.au. The Waller stable has race favourite Life Less Ordinary ($3.50 with Tab) and Montauk ($6) entered in the $150,000 feature and the trainer's racing manager Liam Prior is confident both horses will run well. "Montauk is starting to hit his straps and has been set for this race. It was a good run last start with a big weight and he is fit and ready," Prior said. Life Less Ordinary is raced by a big syndicate headed by Richard Pegum who teamed up with Waller to win the race in 2014 with Trade Commissioner. "Life Less Ordinary had 3200 metre form in the UK but he has shown enough here for the 2000 metres to run a big race," said Prior. "They normally take time to adapt when they come to Australia, but he has picked it up quick. His last run was very good when he got back and ran on well." The Victorians are just as confident as the Waller camp with trainer Ciaron Maher chasing his first Wagga Cup at his first attempt with Pemberley ($9.50). "I haven't had a runner at Wagga before. The race is perfect for Pemberley, he is well weighted and in good form," Maher said. "The timing of the race is perfect as he is likely to continue on to Queensland for some races."