The anticipation is budding ahead of the spring’s opening Group One race this Saturday and the 2011 Golden Rose form and betting markets are starting to suggest an upset may be on the cards with Helmet firming dramatically in the odds.
All they pre-race hype and post-field betting action on the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), scheduled to run as Rosehill Race 5 this Saturday, has been firmly focused on and in the favour of Australian racing’s latest excitement machine, the Anthony Cummings-trained Smart Missile.
Online bookmakers have reported taking bets as high as $100,000 on the undefeated Fastnet Rock colt to maintain their flawless record and be in the papers come Sunday morning with the new title of 2011 Golden Rose winner.
Smart Missile, however, has begun to lose flavour in the Golden Rose odds at Luxbet, who has them out from $1.85 to $1.95.
Out of the five other Golden Rose hopefuls this year, there has been just one market firmer in Peter Snowden’s top-rated Exceed And Excel colt Helmet.
Originally installed as the $4.40 second-elect at Luxbet, Helmet has since shortened dramatically and is now at a quote of $3.80 to turn the tables on Smart Missile and Foxwedge ($9) who beat him one-two in the Run To The Rose last-start.
It seems as though the punters are starting to really studying that 2011 Golden Rose Form Guide and discover just how much there is to like about Helmet.
While Smart Missile is undefeated yes, they are not undefeatable and taking a horse odds-on isn’t for everyone.
Helmet is not only the sole Group 1 winner in this year’s Golden Rose field, he is a TWO time Group 1 winner.
Victories in the AJC Sires Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes over 1400 metres and the mile respectively in Sydney last season have Helmet as the best performing Golden Rose horse and the only one to have proven themselves over the distance.
Some have shied away from backing Helmet because of his tendency to throw his head about and subsequently race erratically, but Snowden believes the addition of blinkers on Saturday will eliminate this issue and have his horse racing sharper and more dangerously than ever.
Stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy, aboard for four of Helmet’s five starts to date and booked for the Golden Rose mount this weekend, agrees with Snowden’s decision to race the colt in blinkers.
“He showed a couple of his trademark mannerisms first-up (in the Run To The Rose) and while they were not that bad Peter and I always thought he has won with a big left,” McEvoy said on Wednesday.
“We’ve always felt the blinkers might extract that out of him.
“He has worked well coming out of the race and improved again.
“With the blinkers on he won’t be overdoing it again.”
Other stats revealed in the Golden Rose 2011 Form Guide include:
- Helmet has the third best Win Rate with 66.67% behind Smart Missile (100%) and Manawanui (75%)
- Helmet comes off a 14 day turnaround along with Smart Missile, Foxwedge and Flight Of Pegasus; Aeronautical has the longest turnaround of 35 days
- There are three last-start winners looking to go back-to-back with Smart Missile, Manwanui and Aeronautical
Looking at the above, it becomes clear that Helmet isn’t in for an easy ride.
Last-start Up And Coming Stakes winner Manawanui and the uncapped Aeronautical are both live-wire chances and McEvoy is wary of both.
“Manawanui and Aeronautical have been winning well in lesser grade,” McEvoy said.
“By no means am I not paying them the respect they deserve, they are promising horses.”
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