Two time Group 1 winner Hay List remains the clear favourite ahead of Saturday’s 2012 Newmarket Handicap which serves as the nation’s most prestigious sprint event.
When betting re-opened yesterday following the final field and barrier draw for the 1200 metre race, Hay List held favouritism with Races.com.au preferred online bookmaker bookmaker.com.au at $3.20.
This short price is despite the fact the John Mcnair trained gelding is carrying a weight (58.5kg) that has not been carried since 1959 and has to contend with a 23-horse field that includes nine Group 1 winners.
Sydney sprinter Rain Affair sits as equal second favourite with Jason Warren trained Bel Sprinter at $6.00 (bookmaker.com.au).
Earlier in the week Bel Sprinter sat as outright second favourite at $5.00, but has dropped back mostly likely due to a minor hiccup that saw the gelding have to undergo an official Racing Victoria vet check on Monday for a superficial wound to his offside rear cannon bone.
Rain Affair has drawn the inside rail for his first Flemington start and the Joseph Pride trained gelding is looking to record his tenth straight victory and take top billings in the $1 million event.
Foxwedge who ran well in a trial at Flemington on Monday, is next best in the betting at $7.50.
The classy Sydney colt will have the experienced Craig Williams in the saddle but it could be tough going from his wide number 17 barrier.
Fresh off a surprise victory in the Oakleigh Plate, Robert Heathcote trained Woorim will run next to Rain Affair from barrier two and is currently paying $21.00.
The six-year-old has 11 wins from 37 starts but a minor scare was thrown in to the gelding’s camp last night when jockey Damien Browne narrowly escaped serious injury at Eagle Farm.
He managed to jump from the saddle when Fun ‘N’ Games caused a stir in the saddling enclosure with the horse eventually knocking down six temporary fencing panels.
Also sitting at $21 in the bookmaker.com.au market is Chris Waller trained Albert the Fat, who will be ridden by experienced jockey Nash Rawiller from barrier seven.
Rawiller is expecting the seven-year-old to produce a good first up effort having last run when he won the Group 1 Emirates Stakes on Melbourne Cup Day.
“If he can just sit out the back where he’s happy and unleash with a couple of good sectionals late then he should be chiming in the last 50 metres, hopefully,” he said.
Toorak Toff, who impressed in a trial at Flemington on Monday, provides some genuine value for the punters at $31.00 as the four-year-old looks to make history by becoming the first horse in 95 years to win the Newmarket first up.
Other horses included in the bookmaker.com.au 2012 Newmarket Handicap Market are Lone Rock ($9.00), Beaded ($17.00), Kings Rose ($17.00) and Temple of Boom ($26.00).
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