While not kicking off her 2014 campaign in the way she would have liked, talented miler Guelph is poised to make a second appearance for the year in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday, having been included in nominations.
Guelph was without doubt one of the country’s best racehorses in 2013, claiming seven wins from only 10 starts including the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m), Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
Despite the less-than convincing sixth behind Sweet Idea in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) on February 22nd, trainer Peter Snowden is confident of a return to form for the exciting Exceed And Excel filly in the 2014 Surround Stakes.
Trainer Chris Waller appears set to dominate the final field for the 2014 Surround Stakes, having included Champagne Cath, Chateau Lafaite, Made To Order and Marmelo in nominations.
Having claimed three wins from only seven starts and finishing outside the places only twice, Champagne Catch perhaps offers Waller the strongest chance of success in the 2014 Surround Stakes.
Closing a consistent yet short 2013 spring with a win in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality, Champagne Cath has returned to the track in strong form in 2014; following up a win in the TAB.com.au Fillies Maiden (1200m) first-up with a competitive third behind Sweet Idea and Gypsy Diamond in the Light Fingers Stakes.
Having also been included in nominations for the Group 2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, Waller will likely keep the Street Sense filly in Sydney ahead of a busy autumn campaign.
Claiming three wins from only four starts so far, Chateau Lafaite has quickly risen to prominence since debuting on track in June, and is more than capable of figuring in good position in the late stages of the 2014 Surround Stakes.
Gai Waterhouse-trained Sweet Idea is aiming to continue her perfect start to 2014, having already secured wins in the Wyong Magic Millions Stakes (1200m), Gold Coast Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) and Light Fingers Stakes.
Ultimately aiming at a run in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes, Sweet Idea will be particularly tough to beat in the Surround Stakes if drawing a favourable barrier on Wednesday.
A total of 19 horses have been nominated for the 2014 Surround Stakes, with a final field of 18 plus emergencies due to be released with barriers on Wednesday.
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2014 Surround Stakes Nominations
|1||ANOTHER PRAYER||John P Thompson||68|
|2||ARABIAN GOLD||David Vandyke||88|
|3||BROOK ROAD||Bart & James Cummings||74|
|4||CHAMPAGNE CATH||Chris Waller||89|
|5||CHATEAU LAFAITE||Chris Waller||79|
|7||GYPSY DIAMOND||John O’Shea||91|
|9||LORNA MAY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||68|
|10||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||80|
|11||MADE TO ORDER||Chris Waller||74|
|13||METAPHORICAL||Peter G Moody||72|
|14||REAL SURREAL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||89|
|15||SARALAGO||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||73|
|16||SENSIBILITY||Peter G Moody||76|
|17||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||104|