This Australia Day Caulfield Racecourse is set to host four black-type showdowns including the Zeditave Stakes 2012 where the Peter Moody-trained Huegill and Peter Snowden’s resuming Group 1 hero Benfica are battling for favouritism.
Scheduled to run as Caulfield Race 5 at 5:45pm (VIC time), the $100,000 Listed Zeditave Stakes (1200m) has this year drawn a final field of 10 three-year-old colts and geldings.
In the latest 2012 Zeditave Stakes odds at Luxbet, it is Moody’s exciting More Than Ready colt Huegill who is the narrow $4.20 favourite.
First-up after running a brave third to Helmet in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8 last-start, Huegill should be well-suited to the distance on Thursday having won over 1200m at Cranbourne by six lengths back in September.
“He’s a very nice colt who made the right sort of improvement in the spring that you’d want to see,” Moody said of Huegill.
“He’s only had one run before that campaign and he continued to improve at each run in the spring and so we’re hoping that improvement continues this time around.”
Close second-favourite in the Zeditave Stakes betting markets at Luxbet is then Benfica, drawn one inside of Huegill (eight) in barrier seven and paying $4.40.
A well-bred son of Lonhro out of Danehill mare Hut, Benfica is also first-up on Thursday but comes off a much lengthier break.
Winner of the Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm last time out on June 11, Benfica was forced to spend an extended time on the sidelines due to injury but is now reportedly back to full fitness and ready to represent Darley once again.
Kerrin McEvoy has the ride on Benfica this Saturday, the jockey confident his mount has come back in good order and will be competitive fresh heading towards their grand final aim, the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3.
“He’s come back nicely,” McEvoy said.
“He’s a nice horse going to look to get over a bit further, but we’ll hopefully see him perform well fresh.”
Three other Zeditave Stakes acceptors are at single-figures to win with Cranbourne galloper Unpretentious ($6 Luxbet), Mark Kavanagh’s undefeated Darci Brahma gelding Pakari Toa ($7 Luxbet) and the Danny O’Brien-trained Adamantium ($9 Luxbet) last seen running a brave fifth to Sepoy in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
Flemington horseman O’Brien is looking forward to getting his Elusive City colt Adamantium back under race conditions, the youngster having won over the Zeditave Stakes track and distance back on October 8.
“He’s a lovely style of colt,” O’Brien said.
“He’s a horse we kept to six furlongs in the spring but he’s probably more of a miler.
“He ran fifth in the Coolmore but they outsprinted him at the clock tower although he kept coming to the line.
“He’s heading towards the Australian Guineas and the step up to the mile will suit him.”
Adamantium is one of seven Zeditave Stakes hopefuls that were nominated for the 2012 Australian Guineas this week, the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival feature drawing 113 early entries including Caulfield Guineas champion Helmet.
See below for the full 2012 Zeditave Stakes field, barriers and odds.
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2012 Zeditave Stakes Final Field & Odds
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rtg.||Odds*|
|1||12X161X||BENFICA||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||7||58.5kg||98||4.40 Luxbet|
|2||1X2134X||SPECTER||Anthony Freedman||Steven Arnold||3||57.5kg||84||13.00 Luxbet|
|3||5X68X211X||INSTINCTION||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||2||57.5kg||78||17.00 Luxbet|
|4||3X21315X||ADAMANTIUM (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Mark Zahra||4||56.5kg||80||9.00 Luxbet|
|5||0X28358X21||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||Ben Melham||10||56kg||70||11.00 Luxbet|
|6||3X5113X||HUEGILL||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||8||55kg||86||4.20 Luxbet|
|7||211X1||PETMAN||John Hyam||Damien Oliver||1||55kg||78||12.00 Luxbet|
|8||11||PAKARI TOA (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||6||55kg||68||7.00 Luxbet|
|9||42X21||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Glen Boss||5||55kg||62||21.00 Luxbet|
|10||12X||UNPRETENTIOUS||Nikki Burke||Craig Williams||9||55kg||66||6.00 Luxbet|
*Odds are Fixed Win from Luxbet and subject to change