While the likes of Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune resume in Melbourne this weekend, the lead-up spring racing action is also going on in Sydney with the 2013 San Domenico Stakes.
Running at Rosehill Gardens as Race 6 at 3:40pm (AEST) the $125,000 Group 3 Smithfield RSL Club San Domenico Stakes (1100m) features a small field of nine hopeful three-year-olds.
Betting on the race is wide open too with six of the runners under $10 in the latest bookmaker.com.au markets.
Heading the San Domenico Stakes odds at $3.20 is the Peter Snowden-trained Sidestep set to carry the 58.5kg topweight.
Drawn in gate six with Tommy Berry booked for the ride, the Exceed And Excel colt was one of the top juveniles last season.
Winner of the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) in March, they were last seen finishing a brave second to Overreach in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill in early April.
The majority of the other hopefuls are also eying a run in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) back at the track on September 14 like Sidestep.
Others high up the markets for the weekend include Gai Waterhouse’s Golden Slipper failure Whittington ($4.40), Whiskey Allround ($6) who was Group 2 placed in the Silver Slipper Stakes first-up last season at Rosehill, and Bjorn Baker’s first-up Rosehill winner at the start of the month Windjammer ($7).
So is Sidestep really the one to beat in the San Domenico?
Or will the punters that shy away from the favourite and get behind a longer-priced hopeful such as Snowden’s other runner Kuroshio ($9), Canonbury Stakes winner Never Can Tell ($9) or even Stratum colt Va Pensiero ($13) who was 11th in the Golden Slipper last time out?
#3 Whittington ($4.40)
Even though they’re first-up like the favourite think they will boast the fitness edge having had two trials leading up to their return. First was a big win over 1050m at Randwick, second was same track and distance for a very close second. Should also benefit from the addition of blinkers to their gear. Waterhouse’s Tale Of The Cat colt has won two of their four starts so far including their three length success on debut in the Listed NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Plate (1000m). Should be better than their Golden Slipper 13th.
#1 Sidestep ($3.20)
No denying Snowden’s up-and-comer has class and they are going to be right in the finish here is our guess. Son of Exceed And Excel has been impressive in all five of their starts to date including their Group 2 win here in March and their Golden Slipper second. Has had one trial leading up when second, albeit beaten 9.5 lengths. That was over 800m though and extra distance here should suit with Snowden pegging them as a Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and possibly also a Cox Plate (2040m) chance. Might not be quite wound up enough here?
#7 Windjammer ($7)
Are out a little wide (barrier eight) but Bernardini colt looked good winning here first-up on August 3 by a goo margin over 1100m. Group 1 performed when ninth in the Slipper and 1wth in the Sires. Beat Mr Entertainer (54kg) carrying 59kg for their resuming run so the drop to 56kg will suit.
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from bookmaker.com.au and subject to change