Will Clarken and Todd Pannell will be looking to claim their third Listed City of Marion Stakes together when the talented five-year-old Steel Frost lines up in Saturday's high-quality feature.
Clarken and Pannell claimed the race in 2013 with Addiction To Rock and took out last year's edition with Cavaloce. They have enjoyed plenty of success with Steel Frost this season who has won four of his five runs since joining the Clarken stable. Steel Frost was last seen in the Listed Sale Cup where he ran sixth behind the talented Moss 'n' Dale. Clarken will also saddle up Sudden Wealth who is aiming for a hat-trick of wins since returning from a spell in November.
The Macdonald and Gluyas stable will have two runners in Saturday's feature with Counter Pulse and So You Too. Counter Pulse is second-up from a spell and was fourth in his first up run behind the Richard Jolly trained Bay Road who will also line up in the City of Marion.
So You Too had a promising spring carnival in Melbourne taking out a BM90 at Moonee Valley before running third behind the very smart Rich Charm in the Listed Caulfield Village Stakes. Since his last start on Melbourne Cup Day, So You Too has had a four week freshen up heading into the City of Marion and boasts an impressive 10:3-2-3 record over the 1200m.
There will be plenty of interest in the Hayes' and Dabernig trained visitor Royal Fashion who is having his second Australian start after coming across from New Zealand. The mare is Group 2 placed over 1200m and also contested the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas just over a year ago.
Jockey Paul Gatt has won this race a record four times and will partner the promising Shayne Cahill trained Desert Lashes. The mare has been runner-up on two occasions this preparation and was around the mark in two Group 3 runs in Melbourne over spring. She has never finished outside the top two in five runs at the track.
The ever consistent Casino Wizard put in a huge run in the Group 3 Heffernan Stakes at Sandown last start only to be pipped by a head by Jungle Edge. The Group 1 placed gelding has a fantastic record over the 1200m at Morphettville with four wins and five placings from thirteen starts.
2015 winner Lord Aspen has had a four week freshen up since his last start on Emirates Stakes Day where he finished seventh behind Moher over 1400m. Four of his nine career wins have come over the 1200m at Morphettville and he'll have young apprentice Justin Huxtable on board for his first career Stakes ride.
Listed winner Fox Hall has been progressing through the grades nicely this campaign and was only 1.5 lengths off a Group 3 win in the Chatham Stakes behind Hellova Street on Oaks Day. The gelding has had the majority of his success over the 1400m and has only ran over 1200m once in his career.
Previous Winners of the City of Marion
The last five winners have all drawn wide barriers 10 (x2), 13 and 15.
Having a fresh runner has also been a key success factor in the pat with Cavaloce (5 weeks) Lord Aspen (6 weeks) Addiction to Rock (7 weeks) and Hidden Value (4 weeks) all having plenty of time off in between runs before their start in the City of Marion. Fox Hall, Lord Aspen, and So You Too will be four weeks between runs while Steel Frost was last seen in the Sale Cup six weeks ago.
For those looking for a lucky number in the race, three of the last five winners have worn the 4 saddlecloth. This bodes well for the Macdonald & Gluyas trained Counter Pulse.
|Year||Winner||Last Run||Starting Price||Barrier||Weeks Between Runs|
|2016||Cavaloce||6th G3 Maybe Mahal Flemington 1400m||$10.70||13||5|
|2015||Lord Aspen||4th Listed Murray Bridge Cup 1600m||$2.80F||10||6|
|2014||Whitlam||4th HCP Morphettville 1000m||$12.80||10||2|
|2013||Addiction To Rock||3rd HCP Murray Bridge 1000m||$20.50||15||7|
|2012||Hidden Value||1st BM68 Morphettville 1200m||$3.20F||13||4|