It’s shaping up as a two horse battle in the 2014 Ajax Stakes betting odds for this weekend, the Gai Waterhouse-trained flyer Ecuador currently leading the charge for the handicap clash.
One of the major support races on the Coolmore Classic Day program on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens, this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) originally drew a final field of 11.
That is down to 10 starters now though following the early scratching of the Chris Waller-trained Diametric (11).
Ajax Stakes betting odds are narrowly topped by Waterhouse’s High Chaparral four-year-old Ecuador (barrier eight) at $3.20 to win their third on the trot.
Having just their 12th career start here, last season they caught the eye when just a length away sixth behind Boban in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick.
Their run there suggests then that they’ll lap up the 1500m on Saturday after two 1400m wins at Rosehill this time in in benchmark 95s.
It’s a step up in class for the up-and-comer, and one horse out to see they don’t handle it as well as the bookies are suggesting is close second favourite Messene ($3.50).
This Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Lonhro five-year-old is also in top form leading up to the Ajax having won all six of their starts over the past 12 months.
Their most recent effort came first-up at Canberra on March 9 where they overcome the outside draw (15 of 15) to win the Listed National Sprint (1400m).
Saturday will also see Messene step out for just the 12th time, and it will also be their first Group race appearance.
Outside of the two lightly-raced favourites are then two other single figure chances equal in the Ajax Stakes odds at $7.
The first is the 58kg top weight Mouro to be ridden from the inside alley with Craig Williams aboard.
Tony McEvoy’s Grand Slam stallion has won their past three on the trot, improving on a Toorak Handicap 11th last October to take out the Sale Cup over the mile then the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield to see out their spring.
They resumed at the start of the month at Flemington with another Group triumph, this time defeating Mourinho in the Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) carrying 58.5kg.
The other is then 53kg light-weight Weary, Waller’s imported French grey in barrier three for jockey Glyn Schofield.
After some good black type form in Europe the Astronomer Royal gelding debuted down under here at Rosehill in mid-February when a close third to Ecuador.
They get the chance to improve on that here going up in class and distance, and they should be competitive with Group 1 form over a mile in France.
Outside of the top four the other more notable Ajax Stakes hopes are then Snitzel five-year-old Malavio ($11) who ran a close fifth in the Epsom Handicap during the spring, the Ron Quinton-trained Monton ($13) coming via fifth in the Chipping Norton Stakes and Sale Cup third placegetter Rhythm To Spare ($16).
Check out the complete Ajax Stakes 2014 betting odds below, fixed win prices punters can lock in now online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Haven’t joined the online betting revolution yet? Sign-up with Ladbrokes.com.au today and enjoy a bonus match bet up to $250 on your first deposit, as well as access to their exclusive Ladbrokes Card payout system giving you instant access to your winnings in cold hard cash!