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South Australian trainers aim towards Spring Carnival

July 5, 2011

South Australian trainers are gearing up for the spring with a number of their best horses preparing to step out in the next month.

The Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville is the likely starting point for one time Melbourne Cup favourites Alcopop and Rebel Raider.

Alcopop, who ran sixth as favourite in the 2009 Melbourne Cup behind the now retired Shocking, has not had much luck since his impressive spring two years ago.

Arguably, his best run since was when second to international champion So You Think in the Group 1 Yalumba Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last October.

Trainer Jake Stephens told Radio Sport National’s Shane Anderson that he may bypass the Cups in favour of a surprising tilt at the Cox Plate.

“He will start in the Spring Stakes, go to the Penny Edition Stakes (1400m, August 29) and then head to Melbourne,” Stephens said.

“Without the likes of So You Think this spring, it might be an idea to head to the Cox Plate.”

Alcopop will be reunited with Dominic Tourneur, who was taken off the horse in controversial circumstances last spring.

Stephens also has Alcopop’s half sister, rising four year old Detox, ready for a spring campaign.

“We don’t want to throw her in the deep end too quickly, but if she shows promise, she may come to Melbourne,” Stephens said.

Fellow South Australian trainer Leon McDonald is also hoping for a successful showing from his team, led by 2008 Victoria Derby winner Rebel Raider.

The stayer was retired to stud following a number of injuries, however a lack of interest saw him returned to the stables.

“There wasn’t any stud willing to take him where he would have a good chance of success,” McDonald told Anderson.

The son of Reset is likely to follow a similar early path to Alcopop with runs in the Spring Stakes and Penny Edition Stakes.

However, if he reclaims his old form, a crack at the Cups is likely.

Rebel Raider was the early favourite for the 2009 Melbourne Cup but injury scuttled all plans.

McDonald also has Group 1 placegetter Southern Speed and Group 2 winner Majestic Music aiming towards mares races, with targets like the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) and Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) both possibilities.

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