Having established his pedigree at weight-for-age level during the autumn, former Irish galloper The United States can announce himself as a leading contender for the Cox Plate when he contests the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (Race 8) over 1600m at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
With the winner of this race exempt from the ballot for the October 22 Cox Plate, a strong field of 14 runners has assembled with The United States currently vying for favouritism with Tosen Stardom, the ex-Japanese horse who will look to make his debut for the all-conquering Darren Weir stable.
A bleeding attack sustained while in quarantine forced connections to abandon plans to run Tosen Stardomduring The Championships, with his participation in this race set to be confirmed following a gallop in front of stewards at Warrnambool on Thursday.
In his absence, The United States raced with some distinction up in Sydney, powering to a strong win in the Ranvet Stakes before an honourable performance saw him finish second behind the runaway Lucia Valentina in the Queen Elizabeth.
The Valley also holds few fears for trainer Robert Hickmott, given that he’s raced well on this circuit in the past and should appreciate the likely solid tempo.
The decision to give Katelyn Mallyon a chance atop the horse is a huge show of faith from owner and prominent businessman Lloyd Williams.
Miss Rose de Lago (pictured above) couldn’t have been more impressive when downing a quality field in the PB Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield first-up but her chances took a bit of a hit when she drew the outside barrier at Wednesday’s draw.
Trainer Danny O’Brien remained upbeat despite the awkward alley, pointing to the mare’s near three-length win in the Sunline Stakes over the same journey here back in March as evidence of her ability to measure up on Saturday.
Our traders aren’t entirely convinced this time around though and with early speed drawn inside, we think Damien Oliver will have a task on his hands and we’ll be looking to take her on.
In an open race with a host of chances, Weir also saddles-up Mahuta, who is on the seven-day back-up following a competitive third place finish in last week’s Memsie, won in emphatic fashion by Black Heart Bart.
While the bay does boast two wins over a mile on his resume, he flopped badly in the Australian Guineas and has also drawn awkwardly for what will be his first try around this course, giving us ample reason to oppose him again.
Suavito wasn’t her usual self when finishing sixth in the PB Lawrence.
But with trainer Nigel Blackiston electing to put the blinkers on in the hope of rediscovering her best form, we’re certainly not discounting her, especially since she hasn’t finished out of the placings in five previous second-up runs.
Kiwi jockey Michael Walker has been pronounced fit to partner her again having made a quicker than expected recovery from a lower back injury that forced him to miss the Memsie meeting.
Indeed, we didn’t miss Jameka’s run in the PB Lawrence and we’re expecting her to finish off strongly once again over the longer trip while The Cleaner will be aiming to join Shorengro (1968-70) as the only three-time winners of this race.
Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes Tips:
1. The United States
3. Miss Rose de Lago
Tips and Preview provided by UniBet.com.au