This Saturday there may be no Group racing happening around the country but the black type action in Sydney is still exciting with racing headlined by the Festival Stakes 2013 at Rosehill Gardens.
There’s a capacity field of summer gallopers engaged in the field for this year’s $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m), the 15 starters to jump from the gates at 4:12pm (AEST) as Sydney Race 6 on Saturday.
Heading Festival Stakes betting markets at a current quote of $3.30 is Terravista who will jump from the inside alley is third emergency Imperil doesn’t get a run.
Getting in on the 54kg minimum with Glyn Schofield to ride, the Joe Pride-trained Captain Rio four-year-old comes into the race in outstanding form having won their past three runs this time in.
While they go up in class here, the bookies are taking no chances after their Randwick win over 1400m last Saturday.
The Festival Stakes is the traditional lead-up to the more prestigious $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes over the mile on December 14 with eight of the past 10 Festival Stakes winners backing up in the Group 2.
Pride however has confirmed Terravista will not back up in the Villiers even if they were to score an easy Festival win this weekend.
“There are no guarantees I’m not going there one too many times on Saturday,” Pride said to The Daily Telegraph.
“It’s all about the autumn carnival with this horse. I don’t want to cruel his autumn for the sake of one more run. It’s just not worth it.
“I wouldn’t be able to give him any kind of break if he has another two weeks in work.
“I’m only giving him four weeks off as it is, and if he wins Saturday, his benchmark will be where it needs to be to be effective during the (autumn) carnival.”
The other top Festival Stakes fancies this year are then the John O’Shea-trained White Sage ($3.70) who has a horror barrier to overcome if they are to post their fifth win from as many starts and the Anthony Cummings-trained Group 1 performer Strike The Stars ($9.50).
But are these the three to lock into your Festival Stakes trifecta bets? Or is there value further down the markets with an upset?
#9 Strike The Stars ($9.50)
Cummings’ Savabeel five-year-old was beaten just two lengths in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes over the Flemington mile last start when eighth to the Chris Waller-trained Boban. That’s a stellar effort and they drop back in class and distance here which should both work in their favour. Had barrier 12 of 13 last run and their nice five draw on Saturday, Hugh Bowman to ride, is another plus. Two runs back were third on Derby Day in the Group 3 won by Smokin’ Joey while their first-up run was a Randwick win and they’ll like returning to Sydney.
#15 Terravista ($3.30)
They’re the shortie in the market and probably deservingly so based on their gun season so far. On the minimum and have the inside draw so could be hard to beat. However they are up in class here, while Strike The Stars drops back from elite level, and are also on the seven day turnaround which could be their undoing. Still, their three Randwick wins have been good and could appreciate the extra distance this start. Bowman is off but, he’s riding Said Com, and so Glyn Schofield replaces.
#3 She’s Clean ($13)
Loving most of what comes out of Waller’s stables this season so think at this price, She’s Clean is not without her claims. Has a wide barrier to overcome, and 57.5kg , but her last run was a Melbourne Cup Day Group 3 third from a similarly wide barrier (15 of 16) with half a kilos less so she can handle it. Hasn’t seen the distance but our guess is she’ll like it and possibly even the mile.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change