Joe Pride’s superlative sprinter Rain Affair has opened the odds-on favourite to give jockey Corey Brown a successive hat-trick of wins in the 2012 Expressway Stakes at Rosehill this Saturday.
Brown has ridden the past two winners of the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) and has high hopes that the ultra-consistent Commands four-year-old Rain Affair can make that three on the trot this Saturday.
Running as Rosehill Race 9 at 4:50pm (NSW time), the Expressway Stakes 2012 field features a strong line-up of nine horses and interestingly enough the past two winners of the race are both in contention again this year with Centennial Park and Rangirangdoo.
The clear pick of the bunch on Saturday is Rain Affair, a horse that has won an incredible eight of their nine career starts to date including the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last August and the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) first-up at Warwick Farm this year on January 2.
Their imposing record, obvious ability, freshness coming into Saturday’s clash and ideal barrier four draw have all combined to see Rain Affair open at $1.70 in the Expressway Stakes odds at Luxbet.
Just two of their rivals are under $10 in the betting with dual Group 1 winner Shoot Out and the David Payne-trained Rosehill specialist Winter King both currently paying $8.
Payne is hoping for a forward showing from Winter King who races for the first time since October 15, but knows Rain Affair will be hard to beat.
“He will be thereabouts but he might be a bit further behind him (Rain Affair),” Payne said.
“He’s had a longer spell, he might need the run.
“But he looks well and he won’t mind the cut out of the ground.”
While former Queenslander Shoot Out is the shortest-priced of Chris Waller’s accepted Expressway Stakes trio, it is $21 chance Danleigh, last seen running a credible eighth to Albert The Fat in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 5, who he rates the best chance.
“In my opinion Danleigh should be shortest of my three in the market followed by Shoot Out,” Waller said.
“He has done the most work out of the three of them and although he is getting on a little, he is a pretty handy sprinter.”
Waller’s other contender is the popular but injury-prone Rangirangdoo, winner of the 2010 edition of the race, who has been backed in from $17 to $14 in the past day, making them the Expressway Stakes betting market mover at Luxbet.
Last time out Rangirangdoo became a multiple Group 1 winner with his emotional victory in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in April last year, and they have shown good form in two recent barrier trials ahead of their turf return on Saturday.
“I was actually encouraged by Rangirangdoo’s work on Tuesday morning,” Waller said.
“It was the first time we have put him under pressure and he surprised me.
“It was a more testing gallop than his two trials but he might struggle to keep up to the fast pace of a 1200m weight-for-age contest.”
Payne’s defending champ Centennial Park pays $12 to win back-to-back Expressway Stakes, and the trainer is confident that his strong first-up record of three wins from six attempts will work in his favour on Saturday.
“I think he is going just as well (as last year),” Payne said.
“We will pick out some weight-for-age races for him over the autumn.
“We’ve put him in the Doncaster so we’ll see how he goes.”
The $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) runs at Randwick on April 21.
Pride’s reigning Doncaster Mile winning mare Sacred Choice and Anthony Cummings’ lightly-raced Savabeel three-year-old Strike The Stars are both rated at $16 through Luxbet.
Veteran Queensland champion Sniper’s Bullet, third-up for the season following two promising runs at Canterbury, is the roughie of the bunch at $51.
Check out the full 2012 Expressway Stakes odds below then head to Luxbet to back your selections at the best prices in the country.
2012 Expressway Stakes Odds
Rosehill Race 9 – 11/02/2012
|1||RANGIRANGDOO (3)||14.00 Luxbet|
|2||SHOOT OUT (6)||8.00 Luxbet|
|3||DANLEIGH (7)||21.00 Luxbet|
|4||CENTENNIAL PARK (2)||12.00 Luxbet|
|5||RAIN AFFAIR (4)||1.70 Luxbet|
|6||SNIPERS BULLET (9)||51.00 Luxbet|
|7||WINTER KING (5)||8.00 Luxbet|
|8||SACRED CHOICE (1)||16.00 Luxbet|
|9||STRIKE THE STARS (8)||16.00 Luxbet|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by Luxbet & subject to change