Last year’s Emirates Stakes winner Wall Street has opened favourite to defeat the likes of Rosehill Guineas hero Jimmy Choux and early 2011 Melbourne Cup tip Scarlett Lady in the Makfi Challenge Stakes 2011 at Hastings in New Zealand this Saturday.
Despite taking place across the Tasman, the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) will be one of the most watched and talked about races by Australian punters tomorrow with a number of genuine 2011 Melbourne Spring Carnival candidates facing off in the feature formerly known as the Mudgway Stakes.
Of the 13-horse field set to contest Hastings Race 9 tomorrow, Jeff Lynds’ Montjeu seven-year-old Wall Street has surprisingly opened the favourite paying around $3.80 with our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet to release odds shortly.
The short-price on Wall Street, last seen running a distant 15th to Sacred Choice in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick back on April 16, has been credited by rival trainers as being due to their favourable barrier three draw.
Forgetting their two failed efforts in Sydney last autumn, Wall Street also beating home just one other runner with 13th to Rangirangdoo in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill, the galloper does first-up claims in the Mudgway this weekend.
First of all, Wall Street has an imposing record of five wins and a second from their six starts at the Hastings track.
Twelve months ago they ran a devastatingly close second to Keep The Peace when resuming in last year’s Mudgway Stakes, before going on to post back-to-back elite level wins at the track in the Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Spring Classic (2040m).
Those runs saw Wall Street earn a shot at Melbourne Spring Carnival glory, connections taking them to Victoria where they ran seventh behind superstar So You Think in the Cox Plate before winning the Emirates Stakes at Flemington.
Wall Street is again set to use the Mudgway as the starting point for a $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) campaign.
Luxbet have Wall Street listed as a $51 outsider in their future Cox Plate 2011 betting markets.
Lynds is confident heading into Saturday’s showdown, saying Wall Street was in great form and looike especially fit when beating home stablemate and Challenge Stakes rival Booming in a gallop at Hastings last week.
“Wall Street handled it (the wet ground) much better and he’ll be comfortable in the footing, which looks like being bordering on slow and dead,” he said.
There are three other main players in the Challenge Stakes betting odds with Jimmy Choux ($4.20) expected to handle the ground well, Scarlett Lady ($5.50) resuming ahead of her $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) bid at Flemington in November and the Stephen McKee-trained Mufhasa ($6).
Mufhasa ran 10th in last year’s Mudgway, but McKee is expecting a much better show from the now seven-year-old on Saturday.
“He’s ready enough to be very competitive,” McKee said.
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