The biggest race running in Sydney this weekend is Saturday’s 2011 Festival Stakes at Rosehill Gardens, and it is the topweight of the 16-horse field King Lionheart that has opened favourite in the Festival Stakes betting.
One of two entries for Gai Waterhouse along with her last-start Warwick Farm winner Kontiki Park, five-year-old King Lionheart races for the first time since pulling up lame after their 15th place failure in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) back on October 1.
With the Al Maher gelding having reportedly returned to full fitness, and after King Lionheart came up trumps with barrier four for Saturday, they have been well supported to bounce back and take out the $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
Despite being allocated 58kg, two and a half kilos more than the next heaviest-weighted rival, King Lionheart has been backed in from $6 to $5.50 in the Festival Stakes odds at Luxbet with punters confident they can recapture the form that saw them win the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) in September.
There are just two other horses in the Festival Stakes field and markets this year at single-figure odds with the John O’Shea-trained Galileo four-year-old Lightinthenite ($5 out to $6 Luxbet) last seen hanging on to beat a smart field over the track and distance on November 12, and King Lionheart’s stablemate Kontiki Park ($8.50 into $8 Luxbet) who won the Warwick Farm 100 Club Handicap (1400m) first-up on November 19.
There is little separating the chances of the rest of the field with all but three of the remaining hopefuls under $20 in the Festival Stakes Luxbet markets.
Other notable fancies include Tim Martin’s Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes runner-up Fibrillation ($11 Luxbet), former Queensland Oaks champion Miss Keepsake ($13 Luxbet), Chris Waller’s Lonhro gelding Tromso ($13 Luxbet) and Circle Of Power ($14 Luxbet) coming off a second to Lightinthenite.
One slightly longer-priced contender that could prove a juicy bet to make on Saturday is $15 chance Monton, is the former Tim Martin-trained sprinter Monton.
It has been 12 months since Monton won a race, their last turf triumph being over subsequent Group 1 The Galaxy winner Atomic Force over 1100 metres at Rosehill in December last year, but their current trainer, former jockey Ron Quinton, is hopeful of a return to form on Saturday after the horse came up with the inside alley.
“We’ve drawn a good alley,” he said.
“It’s perfect for the horse.
“He likes a smother and to be able to get one bite of the cherry.”
As with many of the Festival Stakes acceptors, Monton is being aimed at a start in the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on December 17.
“He will probably head to the Villiers as well,” Quinton confirmed.
Monton has only once been tested over the mile when they finished less than two lengths away sixth to Shoot Out in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in March of last year, then under the preparation of Martin.
“One of his best runs was in the Randwick Guineas when he drew off the track (barrier 15 of 15),” Quinton said.
“If he’s ever going to run it (the mile) it’s now.”
See below for the latest Festival Stakes markets courtesy of Luxbet and stay tuned to Races.com.au for our exclusive weekend racing tips.
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2011 Festival Stakes Odds
Rosehill Race 6 – 03/12/2011
|1||KING LIONHEART (4)||5.50 Luxbet|
|2||MONTON (1)||15.00 Luxbet|
|3||ALTERED BOY (10)||19.00 Luxbet|
|4||TROMSO (15)||13.00 Luxbet|
|5||ALEXANDER OF HALES (16)||61.00 Luxbet|
|6||MENTALITY (13)||35.00 Luxbet|
|7||FIBRILLATION (7)||11.00 Luxbet|
|8||MISS KEEPSAKE (3)||13.00 Luxbet|
|9||LEBRECHAUN (11)||16.00 Luxbet|
|10||KONTIKI PARK (14)||8.00 Luxbet|
|11||CIRCLE OF POWER (5)||14.00 Luxbet|
|12||KIMBERLEY KID (8)||16.00 Luxbet|
|13||WITHOUT COMPROMISE (6)||21.00 Luxbet|
|14||VIVA LASS (2)||18.00 Luxbet|
|15||LIGHTINTHENITE (9)||6.00 Luxbet|
|16||CHATEAU FORT (12)||18.00 Luxbet|
*Fixed Win odds correct at time of publication – check Luxbet for updates and to bet now!