It will be a who’s-who of horses this weekend at Flemington, with the Melbourne track preparing to host Australia’s most prestigious sprint event, the 2012 Newmarket Handicap.
With final fields set to be released tomorrow, this year’s $1 million Group 1 event will contain an unbelievable field of quality.
Hay List, so often overshadowed by Black Caviar, gets his chance to shine without the wonder mare and is the early fixed-price favourite ($2.80) at bookmaker.com.au.
A champion in his own right, the six-year-old will have to overcome the obstacle of carrying 58.5kg. The gelding definitely has the ability to carry that weight but the obstacle lies in the fact he will give plenty of weight away to the likes of Rain Affair, Bel Sprinter and Fox Wedge.
If Hay List can take out the Newmarket Handicap this weekend, the John Mcnair trained horse will take his already outstanding record to 15 wins from 22 starts.
Rain Affair is chasing 10 straight victories, having been unbeatable in Sydney for more than a year.
Trainer Joe Pride, who yesterday ruled out his chances of running the Doncaster, says he is confident the Apollo Stakes winner can score victory in his first Group 1 race.
“The way this horse has been winning is amazing,” he said.
“I think it’s his one and only chance to beat the handicapper.”
At 55.5kg, the four-year-old will run at three kilograms lighter than race favourite Hay List, giving him a great chance to add another win to his near flawless record.
The gelding has only recorded one loss which came as a second placing at Canterbury in February last year.
Bel Sprinter will run at 52.5kg and will be ridden by Ben Melham, who has ridden him every start.
Trainer Jason Warren’s racing manager Simon Lavery says he is confident that Melham will make the weight.
“Ben’s ridden the last two spring carnivals at 52.5kg so he will make the weight,” he said.
Bel Sprinter suffered a minor leg injury in a stable accident yesterday but Lavery believes the bookmaker.com.au second favourite ($5.00) is likely to run on Saturday.
“At this stage he will be running on Saturday but we will have a good look at him…and see how he is Wednesday morning.”
Foxwedge has also received a light weight (52.5kg) which should stand the John O’Shea trained colt in good stead to challenge the top three favourites for the prestigious sprint title.
Fixed odds betting is now available for the 2012 Newmarket Handicap at bookmaker.com.au and with final fields released tomorrow, more markets will be released later this week.
If you sign up today, the Australian owned and operated bookie will even offer you a massive $300 bonus bet.
2012 Newmarket Handicap – Nominations
|1||BLACK CAVIAR||Peter G Moody||1||61.5kg||130|
|2||HAY LIST||John McNair||2||58.5kg||116|
|3||ALBERT THE FAT||Chris Waller||5||56.5kg||112|
|4||TOORAK TOFF||Rick Hore-Lacy||7||56kg||111|
|6||EAGLE FALLS||David Hayes||8||55.5kg||110|
|8||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||12||55.5kg||110|
|9||REKINDLED INTEREST||Jim Conlan||11||55.5kg||110|
|11||SECRET ADMIRER||Grahame Begg||4||55kg||113|
|13||KING’S ROSE (NZ)||Peter G Moody||6||54.5kg||112|
|14||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||15||54.5kg||108|
|15||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||16||54kg||107|
|16||WARATAH’S SECRET||Jim P Taylor||17||53.5kg||106|
|17||LONE ROCK||Robert Smerdon||13||53kg||109|
|18||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||20||52.5kg||104|
|19||FACILE TIGRE||Jason McLachlan||19||52.5kg||104|
|20||ROCK CLASSIC||Bart Cummings||18||52.5kg||104|
|21||CURTANA||Peter G Moody||24||52kg||101|
|22||KULGRINDA||Peter G Moody||25||52kg||99|
|24||MASTER HARRY||Peter G Moody||29||52kg||96|
|25||MASTER OF DESIGN||David Payne||22||52kg||102|
|26||METALLURGICAL||John P Thompson||30||52kg||95|
|27||MR CHARD||Dean Lawson||27||52kg||97|
|28||PHELAN READY||Jason McLachlan||23||52kg||102|
|29||SHOCK VALUE||David Hayes||28||52kg||97|
|30||STIRLING GROVE||Richard Jolly||26||52kg||98|
|31||AFRICAN PULSE||Michael Moroney||33||50kg||91|
|32||CELEBRITY GIRL||Mark Kavanagh||31=||50kg||94|
|34||EMERALD DOWNS||Anthony Cummings||36||50kg||76|
|36||MISS STELLABELLE||Mark Kavanagh||34||50kg||86|
|38||UNIQUE QUALITY||Frankie Stockdale||37||50kg||72|