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Only eight runners will contest the 2014 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday after leading chances Pinwheel and Sizzling were scratched from the final field to chase Group 1 events in Victoria instead.
Having secured a perfect run of five wins from as many starts in a glittering 2013 spring campaign, talented miler Boban ($2.50) currently leads betting markets for the 2014 Apollo Stakes ahead of 2014 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) champion Appearance ($2.90), Speediness ($4.40) and Rain Drum ($9).
Can Boban regather the form that delivered two Group 1 triumphs in the 2013 spring, or will Appearance make it two wins from as many starts in 2014?
Despite his perfect 2013 preparation, Boban was unable to make an impact first-up in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes having been blocked for a run in the early part of the straight and unable to match the late pace of his competitors, finishing fifth. Despite the result, trainer Chris Waller is confident the talented Bernardini gelding will be much better for the run, and will be tough to beat two races in a row.
Appearance displayed outstanding turn of foot in the Expressway Stakes two weeks ago, rounding the final bend at Randwick still well and truly back in to pack before accelerating and claiming the lead with 100 metres left to run. Having claimed seven wins from 17 starts to date, trainer Guy Walter has an understandably high opinion of the Commands mare and punters agree, having snapped up an opening price of $3.30 register Appearance as the $2.90 market mover.
Despite a less-than memorable tilt at the Expressway Stakes, five-year-old Howmuchdoyouloveme represents excellent value to punters for the 2014 Apollo Stakes at a current quote of $12. Having claimed seven wins from 16 starts to date, Howmuchdoyouloveme managed an unlucky second behind in-form gelding Knoydart in the Listed Canterbury Classic (1100m) first-up and produced an easy gallop to win a Rosehill barrier trial on Tuesday.
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