Quality field for the Winter Challenge

The Rosehill feature on Saturday of the $150,000, listed Maldives Travel Connection Winter Challenge (1500m) has a quality field of 13 with a rematch of the listed Winter Stakes and added challenges in the field.

The Chris Waller trained Eckstein has been accepted for a further race to extend her black type pedigree before heading to Coolmore’s paddocks for a breeding career.

Coolmore and associates purchased the mare for their breeding programme and then sent her to Waller for a final preparation. A win in the listed Winter Stakes over 1400m at Rosehill on July 13th was the result, adding to her previous two stakes wins, her two Group 3 wins and a Group 1 placing.

Eckstein’s win was a close affair with Godolphin’s Gaulois second and Gary Portelli’s Nicci’s Gold third, just a neck from the winner. All three are back for a re-run.

Eckstein carried 57.5kg under Blake Shinn while Gaulois carried 55kg under Rachel King and Nicci’s Gold 53kg under apprentice Robbie Dolan.

On Saturday Ekstein carries 59kg under Hugh Bowman with barrier five, Gaulois has 56.5kg under King, but with barrier 13, while Nicci’s Gold has 53kg again with Jay Ford and barrier 10.

Godolphin have accepted with the consistent Duca Valentinois (IRE) after the seven-year-old’s latest win in the listed GH Mumm Stakes over 1820m at Eagle Farm on June 22nd. That win, his eighth from 47 starts along with 11 placings took his stakes to $703,244.

Duca Valentinois has 60kg for Tim Clark and they have barrier three. There is a familiar ring about the top-weight, the Waterhouse and Bott trained Stampede, with Nash Rawiller riding with 61 kg and barrier two. Rawiller was a frequent winner with the Waterhouse stable when he was previously riding in Sydney.

The former Sydney triple Sydney premiership winner is back at a Sydney metropolitan meeting for the first time since he was disqualified on April 25th, 2018, by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for a total period of fifteen months to expire on 25 July 2019, for breaches of the Rules of Racing prohibiting a jockey from having an interest in a bet (Rule 59(3)) and from receiving a benefit for providing tips (Rule 59(2)).

Rawiller rides at Kembla Grange on Thursday in his first day back riding from the disqualification.

The opening market with has a shared first line with Eckstein, Gaulois, Seaway and Cradle Mountain all on $6.50 while  Stampede and Nicci’s Gold are on the second line with $9.00 and Duca Valentinois, Take It Intern and Goodfella at $12.00.

The Winter Challenge is Race 7 at 3.20pm.

The nine race programme, with 116 overall acceptances, commences at 11.40pm with a field of 13 two-year-old’s in the $125,000, ASX Refinitiv Charity Foundation Handicap (1200m.) The Waller trained True Detective is the top-weight with 58kg under Bowman with barrier 12.

The track is rated a Soft 5 on Wednesday with the rail to be out 6m for the entire circuit.

Rosehill’s weather is fine with temperatures 19c on Thursday and 20c on Friday. Saturday’s forecast is for a mostly sunny day with 7c – 20c.

Rosehill fields

Quality racing in the Winter Challenge, Eckstein (white) racing in her previous colours, picture