A crack field of three-year-olds are set to face off in the Lee Steere Classic 2011 at Ascot this Saturday, the latest Perth Summer Racing Carnival Group showdown, and despite a last-start defeat Simon Miller’s promising filly Night War has opened favourite again.
One of 11 hopefuls making up the field for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Sir Ernest Lee Steere Classic (1400m), due to jump as Ascot Race 5 at 3:45pm (Perth time) on Saturday, General Nediym filly Night War leads the Luxbet markets at a short price of $2.70.
She opened at the top of the markets for her last start in the Listed Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago, but was regulated to second by fellow Lee Steere Classic rival Watermans Bay in an upset.
“The conditions didn’t suit last start and her run was very creditable considering,” Miller said.
Dropping back from 57kg in the Ark to 54kg on Saturday, and stepping up from 1200 metres to 1400 metres, the bookies and punters are getting behind last season’s champion 2YO who took out the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) back in March.
It may be her first test at the distance but Miller is confident that under the set weight conditions Night War’s class will shine through.
“The distance is definitely questionable for her, but I feel taking this path has given her every chance to run out the 1400 metres strongly,” Miller said.
“I believe she will get the journey, but until they go out there and do it, it is hard to say whether they will or they won’t.
“With all things being equal on Saturday, again I expect her to run her usual solid race.”
The Lee Steere Classic distance is also something of concern for the connections of $3 second favourite Watermans Bay.
Taking his record to three wins from five starts in the Placid Ark, Eternity Range gelding Watermans Bay on Saturday will jump from barrier two as they look to record back-to-back black types.
Their swooping run from the back of the field to win in the Placid Ark showed their trainer Peter Giadresco enough to suggest they could handle the 1400 metres and would again be the horse to beat on Saturday.
“He settled back in the field and really relaxed well before he ran home hard,” Giadresco said.
“His closing sectionals were excellent but until you see them handle the 1400 metres, you can’t be 100 percent sure.”
Watermans Bay’s pedigree is mixed in regards to the distance.
Their sire Eternity Range has produced stakes winners right up to a stayer’s 2200 metres, however their dam, Ron Bon mare Parisian Princess, only ever won up to 1200 metres.
“It is a slight concern but I am confident the 1400 metres will be no problem for him,” Giadresco said.
“He is much bigger and stronger than his two-year-old days and there is no reason why he won’t run well again.”
Other top fancies in the Lee Steere Classic field and odds include Dan Morton’s spruik colt Born To Excel ($6.50 Luxbet) who has won two of their three starts to date, the Neville Parnham-trained Almachino ($7.50 Luxbet) last seen running seventh to King Saul in the Group 2 WA Guineas over the mile and Trevor Andrews’ Placid Ark fourth placegetter Venetian Prince who is the market mover having been backed in from $14 to $11.
Check out the latest Lee Steere Stakes odds below that punters can lock in now at Luxbet.
2011 Lee Steere Stakes Odds
Ascot Race 5 – 10/12/2011
|1||WATERMANS BAY (2)||3.00 Luxbet|
|2||GRACETOWN (3)||26.00 Luxbet|
|3||TAX A MILLION (4)||61.00 Luxbet|
|4||EXCLUSIVE HONOUR (7)||35.00 Luxbet|
|5||VENETIAN PRINCE (6)||11.00 Luxbet|
|6||BORN TO EXCEL (9)||6.50 Luxbet|
|7||MURPHYS RED BOY (11)||51.00 Luxbet|
|8||TEMPLES (10)||81.00 Luxbet|
|9||NIGHT WAR (8)||2.70 Luxbet|
|10||ALMACHINO (5)||7.50 Luxbet|
|11||PURE HEAVEN (1)||41.00 Luxbet|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by Luxbet and subject to change