A capacity field of 16 has accepted for Saturday’s Group 1 Kennedy Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Several proven milers will step out to grab a share in the $1.5 million prize-fund in what is shaping up to be another classic between last start Toorak Handicap winner Mr Quickie and second place-getter Buffalo River.
Craig Williams is shooting for a Kennedy Cantala hat-trick aboard Buffalo River after winning the last two editions with Best Of Days and Fierce Impact.
This race is always one of the highlights on Derby Day and we have analysed each and every runner in our 2020 Kennedy Cantala Preview below.
Fifty Stars strips fitter for his last start third in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) behind Wild Planet at Caulfield and rates a serious winning chance after running second behind Fierce Impact in last year’s Kennedy Cantala.
Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes’ Irish galloper gets out to his preferred trip third-up where he’s won twice previously, which includes back-to-back wins in the last two editions of the Blamey Stakes.
Fifty Stars has also won twice previously third-up from a spell and figures to be a major player.
Mr Quickie was the surprise winner of the Group 1 Toorak Handicap in what was easily one of the best rides of Jamie Kah’s career.
The Phillip Stokes-trained galloper showed plenty through the line beating home Buffalo River by two lengths and is more than capable of replicating that performance with a gap between runs.
He absolutely loves racing over the mile and tends to go even better at Flemington.
With Kah sticking aboard, he’s the horse to beat.
Olmedo has had only the one run since venturing to Australia in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill back in March.
Chris Waller’s six-year-old found it tough going that day on the Heavy 9, but should be better suited here first-up on a firmer track.
The French raider has won fresh previously and is certainly worth a look in exotics coming off two impressive trials at Rosehill and Warwick Farm behind Miss Invincible and Bivouac.
Wild Planet had excuses when ninth two runs back in the Epsom and quickly made us forget by chasing down Morissy in his last start to win the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The Hawkes-trained gelding is a dual acceptor in the Yes Yes Yes Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday but can just as easily figure in the Cantala off recent efforts.
His win in the Moonga suggests he’ll see out the mile quite nicely if he can get back and run on again.
Yulong Prince has been a consistent customer this preparation running second at Randwick behind Mister Sea Wolf in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes prior to his last start fourth in the Epsom.
The pace didn’t suit him last time out and he should enjoy racing with more breathing room out wide under Damian Lane.
Has won third-up previously and could figure somewhere in the photo.
Best Of Days
2018 Kennedy Cantala winner Best Of Days is much better than his latest effort suggests when second-last in the Moonga Stakes at Caulfield in a fastly run race.
The Godolphin import showed plenty of merit finding the money first-up at Flemington in the Listed Paris Lane Stakes and has also won over this track and distance previously.
He is much better than his current market price suggests, especially with Ben Melham booked to ride for the first time.
Cascadian ran third in last year’s Kennedy Cantala behind Fierce Impact but would need to improve drastically to repeat that performance.
Godolphin’s British raider was enormous in the Memsie running fourth, only to follow up with a pair of disappointing performances in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and the Toorak Handicap.
With only one start to his name at Flemington, he’s tough to have.
I Am Superman
I Am Superman rattled off back-to-back wins at Caulfield and Rosehill to kick-start his prep but found the mile a little tough third-up in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap.
He’s struggled in two runs at this level in the past but a soft track and the low draw might help his chances.
Rock won a Group 3 at Newcastle in his second run back from a spell and was far from disgraced against some quality opposition when seventh in the Epsom Handicap last start where he clocked the quickest final 200m of the race.
The son of Pierro ran 12th in this same race last year and is well over the odds at double figures.
Streets Of Avalon
Streets Of Avalon won the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield back in February but hasn’t returned the same horse during his current preparation.
The son of Magnus struggled to find the line in his last start when ninth in the Coongy Cup and won’t find this any easier.
The Velvet King
The Velvet King has tested punters’ patience this year running a string of placings over in the West prior to a disappointing first-up run in the Listed Village Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
Peter Moody’s five-year-old has won twice previously second-up, but this does look a sharp rise to the mile.
Age Of Chivalry
Age Of Chivalry has been up since August and has raced among some strong company over the last month.
The Ellerton and Zahra-trained gelding finished fourth behind Mr Quickie in the Toorak and two lengths second to Homesman in the Group 2 Crystal Mile last week at Moonee Valley.
Age Of Chivalry ran second on the short back-up last year at Flemington in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes and this looks a nice option for him despite the wide draw.
Buffalo River lost no admirers in his Group 1 debut running out a strong race for second behind Mr Quickie in the Toorak Handicap.
There’s no doubt he’ll be better for that run and the fact he gets back to Flemington where he’s won previously over the mile can only be seen as a plus.
As usual, he’ll likely go forward and prove tough to run down under Hugh Bowman who, like Craig Williams, is also searching for his third Kennedy Cantala win.
Chief Ironside was far from disgraced when third to Rock in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle last month but has typically struggled at Group 1 level.
Kris Lees’ six-year-old failed to show any real turn of foot last start in the Toorak Handicap and won’t find this any easier.
Nonconformist showed a real turn of foot to go toe-to-toe with Harlem to win the Group 3 Coongy Cup (2000m) at Caulfield in his last start and should appreciate getting back to the mile now where he’s won twice previously.
This race shapes up as a much tougher assignment, but he isn’t the worst with some wet track form to his name.
King’s Legacy turned in an eye-catching run for third two starts back in the Golden Rose but struggled out to the mile last start in the Caulfield Guineas.
The son of Redoute’s Choice won the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick over the same trip during the Autumn though and might just finish over the top of some of these dropping 5.5kg’s off his last start.
Reykjavik has found the money in five of his seven runs at Flemington but looks tough to have based on his run over the mile in the Toorak Handicap.
He remains the first emergency in Saturday’s field.
Junipal settled midfield last start in the Toorak Handicap and simply ran out of the gas towards the line running a disappointing ninth.
He has won three times previously over the mile and remains the second emergency at time of publish.
Harbour Views is stepping back from the 2000m in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes where he finished fourth in the field of six behind Arcadia Queen and Russian Camelot.
The French import rarely runs a bad race over the mile, but he would need a few things to go his way to earn a spot in the field.
Reloaded earned plenty of admirers when third behind Dreamforce first-up in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes at Randwick before the pace got the better of him in the Bill Ritchie.
He’s struggled over this distance previously and would need plenty to improve drastically to be a factor as the fourth emergency.
2020 Kennedy Cantala Tips
1st – Fifty Stars
2nd – Mr Quickie
3rd – Rock
4th – Buffalo River