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Schweida hoping for one El of a finish in Sires’ Produce Stakes

Thu 30 May 2024

By Mandy Cottell, Danny Matthews and Craig Brennan 

Talented filly El Morzillo will be tested beyond 1200 metres for the first time at Eagle Farm.

Some encouraging feedback from one of the country's best jockeys has trainer Kelly Schweida optimistic that El Morzillo can handle a distance rise in the Group 2 Sires' Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm.

The filly will extend to 1400 metres for the first time on Saturday and Schweida admits he isn't sure whether the extra 200 metres will be a bridge too far.

But, he is happy to back the opinion of hoop Craig Williams, who has partnered El Morzillo in her past two runs including her closing fourth behind Eneeza and Golden Slipper winner Lady Of Camelot in the Percy Sykes Stakes over 1200 metres two starts ago.

"Whether she runs 1400, I don't know, but Craig Williams seems to think she will," Schweida said.

"I'm happy to go there, she has done well since her last run, and you don't know until you try them."

El Morzillo has showed above average ability from the outset, finishing runner-up in the Listed Calaway Gal Stakes over 1000 metres on debut in December before notching Group placings at her past two starts in the Percy Sykes Stakes and Champagne Classic, both over 1200 metres. 

She has drawn well in barrier four for Saturday's Group 2 assignment and Schweida is banking on a conservative ride to help El Morzillo see out the journey.

"Her three best runs have been when we've ridden her quiet so I think riding her quiet and getting her to the big track will suit her, but only time will tell," he said.

"The competition will get stronger with (James) Cummings' horse (Group 1 winner Broadsiding) coming up, it has got really good form lines.

"But, the race she ran in in Sydney, the Percy Sykes, it was a strong form line too. You had the Golden Slipper winner in there running second, so it all depends on whether she can run 1400."

El Morzillo is by dual Group 1-winning sprinter Star Witness, who only raced once beyond 1200 metres for a stakes placing, while her dam Avocado was a winner over 950 metres at her only race appearance.

The locally trained youngster is a $5 second favourite in her bid to become the sixth filly to win the Sires' Produce Stakes in the past 20 years with Sheeza Belter in 2022 the most recent.

Godolphin's Champagne Stakes winner Broadsiding remains a $3.80 favourite despite his wide draw in barrier 21.

Meanwhile, Uncommon James will be out to bust a winless streak of over 12 months when he lines up in the Kingsford Smith Cup at Eagle Farm.

Co-trainers Steven O'Dea and Matthew Hoysted are keen to see Uncommon James recapture the form that saw the sprinter win a Group 1 race in Melbourne.

Uncommon James won the Oakleigh Plate at Sandown in February last year, but in seven appearances since, has been unable to breakthrough for another win.

The Eagle Farm-based trainers are hoping that breakthrough may come in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup over 1200 metres on their home track on Saturday.

While Uncommon James has been winless since that Oakleigh Plate success, he did go on to run second in the Group 1 The Galaxy at Rosehill last year along with chasing home Imperatriz at Moonee Valley on two occasions when third in both the Group 1 Moir Stakes and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes.

In between those two Moonee Valley efforts was a second-place finish to Asfoora in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes over 1100 metres at Caulfield.

Uncommon James resumed this campaign finishing fifth in The Galaxy at Rosehill in March before posting a disappointing effort when second-last in the Group 2 Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm back on May 4.

Hoysted said he and O'Dea had put a line through that run after the first half of the race went pear-shaped for the gelding.

Uncommon James has since had a jump-out and ridden quietly, he finished off the workout in far better shape.

"He finished off well and was good through the line," Hoysted said.

"We couldn't fault him after the run physically, it was just the first half of the race that brought him undone, so we rode him a little bit quieter in his jump-out and he attacked the line really good."

Hoysted said Uncommon James would strip fitter on Saturday and believes the gelding is still in good order as a rising six-year-old that has raced only 15 times for six wins and six minor placings.

"It will be a good test for him on Saturday," Hoysted said.

"On his form and on that last run, everyone is putting a line through him, which is probably understandable.

"But, I think we can more-or-less put a line through the run after what happened early and if the real Uncommon James steps up, he's a much better chance that what his current price is."

Uncommon James has gate 11 on Saturday in the 12-horse field and is a $34 chance, in a market led by I Wish I Win at $3.30 ahead of Think About It and Bella Nipotina, both at $6.