On Saturday at Scone Racecourse a talented line-up of fillies and mares will run in the 2014 Dark Jewel Classic– betting tips for the feature listed below.
There are 11 runners still in the mix for this year’s $200,000 Group 3 Coolmore Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) following the early scratching of #12 Oh My Papa (9).
Heading the Dark Jewel Classic odds at a quote of $4.40 is recent Birthday Card Stakes winner Avoid Lightning for Randwick’s Les Bridge.
The Blevic five-year-old backed up from her Group 3 win at Rosehill to finish second behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on April 19 when ridden by Blake Shinn.
Tim Clark, aboard the mare for her Birthday Card Stakes success, is back in the saddle after suspension this weekend looking for another win on the ex-South Australian galloper who is drawn wide in barrier 11 (into 10).
“She obviously had some race fitness on her side and got onto a track to her liking in the trial [she won over 1050m on May 9] but she has been in great form all preparation,” Clark told The Daily Telegraph.
“I’m hoping she can take up a closer position so she is not giving away so much start.
“When she won at Rosehill I exposed her early and got there a long way from home and she was feeling the pinch late.
“She has a really good turn of foot and if she can be ridden to use that I think she will get the seven [furlongs] and prove hard to beat.”
Her main dangers are perceived to be last year’s third place getter Miss Stellabelle ($6) in barrier three, John O’Shea’s Darley Crown winner Aerobatics ($6.50) and Wyong galloper Two Blue ($7.50) who also comes off a win having saluted over 1200m at Randwick three weeks back.
So will the favourite get the job done? Or is there an upset Dark Jewel Classic result on the cards from a longer priced chance such as market mover Lilliburlero ($8) or O’Shea’s other runner Seaside ($8) out to improve on a sixth at Hawkesbury?
#4 Miss Stellabelle ($6)
Gai Waterhouse-trained Dehere mare is the best drawn of the top chances here set to get a great run from barrier three with Brenton Avdulla on her. Her winning strike rate isn’t great but her honesty is and she never runs a bad race. Last time out was fourth in the Hawkesbury Darnley Crown only one and a quarter off the winner Aerobatics who she runs against again here. She gets a chance to turn the tables though dropping back from 58kg to just 55.5kg here, plus her third in this race last year was very good so think she’ll go better than that this year and take it out.
#2 Avoid Lightning ($4.40)
Widely drawn with the second outside gate but think there’s time over 1400m to get in the mix. Clark thinks she’ll go the distance after riding her in a trial on May 9 and she certainly has done it easy over 1200m before so if she handles the extra meters will be hard to hold out. Group 3 winner two back on a Heavy (8) so will appreciate any rain, and last start second in the Sapphire could prove the form that holds here.
#1 Aerobatics ($6.50)
Outside draw for this Darely-owned mare but she’s got class and cannot be overlooked. Fifth in the Sapphire was improved upon last start at Hawkesbury when she took out the Group 3 Darley Crown (1300m) defeating Plucky Belle. She had 58kg that day and gets the same here with Christian Reith in the saddle. Isn’t drawn to win but distance will suit and will be in the finish.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change