CYRIL FLOWER STAKES BACKGROUND
Marjoleo, Heron Bridge and in more times Watermans Bay and Black Heart Bart have graced the Cyril Flower Stakes honour roll, one of two feature races at Ascot on Saturday.
The Cyril Flower Stakes, a Listed race, that is now worth $100,000, was first staged in 1974 and won by Cambana Lad, a five-year-old son of Zahedan, who won over 1200m.
Geoff Roberts became the first trainer two win the Cyril Flower Stakes in successive years when he prepared Corporate Gun (1999-2000).
Stelmach, who trained, On Target (2005-2007), Neville Parnham, who handled Irish Pride (2002) and Tarzi (2009) and Peter Giadresco, who put the polish on Devils Dance (2004) and Watermans Bay (2013) are dual winners of the Cyril Flower Stakes.
Fred Kersley (Divine Calling), Chris Gangemi (Durendal), Roy Rogers (Potent Secret), Darren McAuliffe (Rebel King), Dan Morton (Red Ora), Jim Taylor (Gigante), Rhys Radford (Great Shot), Sharon Miller (It’s It) and Geoff Durrant & Jason Miller (Zuccheros) are looking for their first taste of success in the Cyril Flower Stakes.
Dan Morton has won the Cyril Flower Stakes previously, but as a jockey when he partnered his trainer father, Len Morton’s horse, Dark Beau (1989).
Dan Morton is out to shed his maiden status as a trainer in the Cyril Flower Stakes after Red Ora ran second last year and Watermans Bay in 2015.
Paul Hunter and Dream Lifter are aiming to join Corporate Gun as the only horses to win the Cyril Flower Stakes back-to-back.
Grant Williams, who won the sprint feature with Amorino (2014), is in line for a second victory with Coming Back, a gelding he prepares in partnership with partner, Alana Williams.
Alana Williams has her name engraved on the Cyril Flower Stakes trophy twice after riding Devil’s Dance (2004) and On Target (2005).
Pat Carbery will partner It’s It and if successful he joins Mark Sestich and Rod Kemp as the most prolific winners of the Cyril Flower Stakes.
Sestich posted his first wins in each of the past three decades: White Tiger (1985), Island Gossip (1990) and Corporate Gun (2000).
Kemp landed his first win on Western Coast in 1979 and followed up with Wynton Lad (1984) and Even Row (1986).
Carbery combined with Irish Pride (2002) and Westriver Kevydonn (2012).
Shaun O’Donnell became the first rider to win back-to-back Cyril Flower Stakes after steering Caliway (1993) and Sir Tinka (1994).
Daniel Staeck (On Target-2007), Mitchell Pateman (Dream Lifter-2016), William Pike (Amorino-2014) and Brad Parnham (Tarzi-2009) have one win each in the Cyril Flower Stakes.
Staeck chases his second with Divine Calling, Pike is on Coming Back, Pateman and Dream Lifter combine again and Parnham rides Rebel King.
Jarrad Noske (Durendal), Jerry Noske (Potent Secret), Chris Parnham (Red Ora), Steven Parnham (Bass Straight), Jason Brown (Gigante), Craig Staples (Great Shot) and Joe Azzopardi (Zuccheros) are out to shed their maiden status in the Cyril Flower Stakes.
Pike also has three placings in the race: Red Ora (2016), Watermans Bay (2015), and Keytomoney (2009).
Potent Secret will have to defy history as no horse has been successful from barrier eight.
Bass Straight starts from barrier one and Zuccheros barrier five, the best record of any gates with seven wins each.
Next best with six wins is gate six. Red Ora has the honours from this starting position in Saturday’s Cyril Flower Stakes.
Durendal will jump from barrier two, only one horse has been successful from the inner draw.
LEAD UP RACE
Since 2000 eight of the previous Cyril Flower Stakes champions have won their lead-up races, five were successful first-up and two were placed.
Divine Calling and Rebel King were last-start winners, Durendal, Dream Lifter, Potent Secret, Red Ora and It’s It were placed.
Great Shot, Coming Back and Bass Straight are racing first up this campaign.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli