The 2014 Expressway Stakes at Randwick is shaping as one of the best races of the year so far, with several Group 1 winners featuring in nominations for the Group 2 event, including Boban.
Amassing an impressive eight wins in only 18 starts, the four-year-old son of Bernardini had a standout year in 2013 claiming all five Spring Carnival events for which he lined up, including the Group 1 Star Epsom Handicap and Group 1 Emirates Stakes on November 9th.
Preparing for what will likely be one of the busiest 2014 calendars of any Australian runner, trainer Chris Waller has confirmed Boban will be aimed at runs in both the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) on February 22nd, the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on March 8th; with the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes highlighting his Autumn campaign.
Waller currently appears most likely to walk away from Royal Randwick with another Group 2 title, having also nominated classy runners Arinosa, Moriarty and Sizzling for the 2014 Expressway Stakes.
Following a 2013 Spring Racing campaign in which he did not manage to live up to the hype, Sizzling will record his first start under Waller after transferring from Kelso Wood’s Queensland stables over the Christmas break.
The four-year-old stallion’s best result in the ill-fated campaign was delivered in the form of a fourth behind Boban in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Quality (1400m), with a scattering of mid-pack finishes to round out all events.
Also included in 2014 Expressway Stakes nominations is the Joseph Pride-trained Rain Affair.
Despite a quiet Spring Racing Carnival that featured no Group 1 starts, the talented Commands gelding managed a top performance in claiming the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick before closing the short campaign placing sixth behind Riva De Lago in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m).
By far the most curious nomination for the 2014 Expressway Stakes however is that of Carlton House, most famously owned by Her Majesty, the Queen of England.
Making his Australian debut at the 2013 Group 2 Ajax Stakes (2000m), a placing of 13th was enough for the Street Cry stallion to be sent to the spelling paddock for nearly four months; rounding out 2013 with a handful of barrier trials.
Despite the quiet year, trainer Gai Waterhouse has been impressed with the form of the six-year-old since returning to work, recently galloping alongside 2013 Melbourne Cup winner and stablemate Fiorente in a Sydney exhibition gallop.
A total of 14 nominations were taken for the 2014 Expressway Stakes.
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2014 Expressway Stakes Nominations
|1||ANY DAY WILL DO||Guy Walter||88|
|5||CARLTON HOUSE (USA)||Gai Waterhouse||108|
|6||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||99|
|8||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||109|
|10||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||110|
|11||REAL SURREAL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||86|
|12||RIVER LAD||Natalie Mccall||102|