Zurella Heads 2012 Naturalism Stakes Betting

New Zealand mare Zurella is the early favourite in the 2012 Naturalism Stakes which stands as a crucial race at Caulfield on Saturday.


Zurella will continue her Australian spring campaign in the Naturalism Stakes

The winner of the Naturalism is important as it provides 2012 Caulfield Cup ballot exemption to the winner and as such has attracted a full field.

Of the field only outsider Norsqui ($81.00) is qualified on the basis of his win in the Mornington Cup in February with the other 17 fighting for a berth in the prestigious staying race.

Zurella is rated a $4.60 chance at bookmaker.com.au to back up her first-up win this weekend after a particularly impressive Australian soil debut.

With Craig Newitt aboard the New Zealand Oaks runner-up was dominant when winning the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington earlier this month.

Anthony Freedman-trained import Fruehling ($5.50) is second in the market but is first emergency and will only gain a start if one of top 16 is withdrawn.

Only two other horses fall under double figures with Michael Moroney-trained Shenzhou Steeds and Ciaron Maher-trained five-year-old Mr O’Ceirin both rated as $6.00 chances.

Shenzhou Steeds was dominant when winning both the Ipswich and Caloundra Cups during the winter and made a promising return when sixth first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

One horse in the field to taste recent success is Slickpix Stakes winner Cuban Sunday ($17.00) who will come from barrier 15.

The market is cluttered around the double-figure range with Exceptionally, Folding Gear and Sea Galleon all being offered at $10.00.

Other horses in the Naturalism Stakes market include Adelaide Cup winner Rialya ($31.00) and the Bart Cummings-trained Budai ($61.00).