It seems the favourite is going to rain on the rest of the Challenge Stakes 2012 field if the early markets are any indication with the Joe Pride-trained Rain Affair opening odds-on to win the Rosehill Guineas Day feature on Saturday.
Due to jump as Rosehill Race 4 at 2:10pm (NSW time), this year’s edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1100m) attracted just seven contenders.
Of those seven the clear cut favourite in the Challenge Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au is Commands four-year-old Rain Affair paying $1.75 to post career win number 11 from 13.
After winning their three opening assignments in Sydney this season, including the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) by four lengths and the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) over subsequent Chipping Norton Stakes winner Shoot Out by two and a half lengths, Rain Affair suffered their worst ever loss last start.
In a big 22-horse Newmarket Handicap field they struggled to find a position and finished two and a half lengths away sixth behind the history-making winner Hay List on March 10.
They return to their favourite track at Rosehill on Saturday and come back to 1100-metres, a distance they won over first-up in the Listed Carrington Stakes at Warwick Farm on January 2.
Rain Affair also won over the Challenge Stakes track and distance last July by an easy three and a half lengths, making it easy to see why they are the top elect.
Following Rain Affair in the Challenge Stakes betting markets at bookmaker.com.au is then unsurprisingly Bel Sprinter at $3.40.
Drawn one outside the favourite in barrier four for Saturday, Jason Warren’s Bel Esprit four-year-old Bel Sprinter comes into the Challenge Stakes on the back of a very similar lead-up to their main rival.
A winner of five of their seven runs, Bel Sprinter was on fire until running sixth in their maiden elite level test last start when one and a half lengths off the winner Woorim in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.
They go to Sydney for the first time in the Challenge Stakes, and their clash with Rain Affair has been one punters have long been keen to see.
The two other hopefuls under $10 in the markets are then $7.50 third favourite Elite Falls, John O’Shea’s More Than Ready filly coming off a close first-up second in the Oakleigh Plate, and $9 chance Neeson who is a stablemate of Rain Affair’s.
Rounding out the 2012 Challenge Stakes field and betting are then Clarry Conners’ 2012 The Galaxy-bound filly Satin Shoes ($26), the David Payne-trained Winter King ($26) and their stablemate $41 roughie Cardinal Virtue.
Like the odds-on favourite or fancy an upset? Whatever your Challenge Stakes tips and selections are we can guarantee you’ll like the odds available online at bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 Challenge Stakes Odds
Rosehill Race 4 – 2:10pm – 31/03/2012
|1||RAIN AFFAIR (3)||1.75 bookmaker.com.au|
|2||NEESON (2)||9.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|3||BEL SPRINTER (4)||3.40 bookmaker.com.au|
|4||WINTER KING (7)||26.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|5||CARDINAL VIRTUE (6)||41.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|6||ELITE FALLS (1)||7.50 bookmaker.com.au|
|7||SATIN SHOES (5)||26.00 bookmaker.com.au|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by bookmaker.com.au and subject to change