Philippi to atone in Alister Clark Stakes

Mick Kent has always wanted to see Philippi run over 2000 metres and he gets his chance this Friday night, when he contests the G2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m).

A son of Swettenham Stud’s leading second-season sire Host, he headlines a small-but-select seven-horse feature at Moonee Valley.

Philippi (3c Host – Soorena by Encosta De Lago) won the Listed UCI Stakes at Flemington over 1800 metres in October but Kent felt that the colt was not ready to continue onto the VRC Derby and sent him to the paddock instead.  “I’ve always thought that 2000 metres would be a trip that would really suit him so I’m looking forward to him going there on Friday night,” Kent told Racing Victoria’s Andrew Garvey on Wednesday.

After a good first-up run when fourth in the C.S. Hayes Stakes at Flemington, Kent had viewed the Group 1 Australian Guineas as a race for second, behind star three-year-old All Too Hard.

However, his Saturday morning changed dramatically that day, when long odds-on favourite All Too Hard was withdrawn and suddenly Kent had two serious winning chances in Philippi and High Shot.  “I had been very relaxed going into it with no pressure on us and then All Too Hard came out and I went from one cigarette an hour to four,” joked Kent.

Unfortunately the absence of All Too Hard did not result in a win for either of Kent’s horses.  High Shot could not finish the race off after being ridden closer to the speed, while Philippi ended up in an awkward position back along the inside and after being ridden for luck in the straight got little, before running well to finish sixth.

“Under the circumstances, Philippi ran well but I was very disappointed with the result,” he said.  “The pre race plan had been to settle behind the race favourite Albrecht but there was crowding in the early stages and Philippi was forced further back than we expected along the inside.

“Initially it looked good but then the speed came from the outside and bang, bang we just got pushed back on the inside,” Kent said.

In the Alister Clark, a race Kent won two years ago with Domesky, Philippi has drawn the outside gate, but on a track that can prove tricky for many horses, he does have the advantage of one run at the track for a win over 1500m.

“He goes well around there and I think it is a track that suits a horse like him because it has a testing uphill finish,” he said.

With Peter Moody not having a runner in the race Kent has taken the opportunity to book Luke Nolen, who partnered Philippi in his first two wins, for the Alister Clark ride.

Elsewhere,  Cranbourne based Host colt Hosting has been scratched from the Bendigo Guineas (1400m) this Saturday.

Last start Host winner Tronador is fourth emergency for the three year-old feature at the stand-alone Bendigo meeting.