One of the two horses Sydney’s ace trainer Chris Waller withdrew from Thursday’s Grafton Cup, Mulaqen is fighting for favouritism in Saturday’s Banjo Paterson Series Final 2014 at Flemington Racecourse.
Running as ‘Finals Day’ Race 3 at 1:50pm, this year’s $120,000 Listed Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m) originally drew 15 final acceptors.
The line-up is now down to 14 hopefuls following the early withdrawal of #12 Get Out Of Town.
There are currently two horses battling it out for top spot in the Banjo Paterson Series Final odds with Mulaqen and the Ciaron Maher-trained Marksmanship.
Narrowly leading the battle at a quote of $4.20 through Ladbrokes.com.au is the market mover Mulaqen in the outside draw with Craig Newitt to ride.
The European import has been on the improve this winter as they step up in distance, the Haafhd six-year-old coming off a close third when a quarter length off their stable mate Secessio in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on June 28.
They a kilo more with 55kg on Saturday but should appreciate another distance rise going up to 2600m.
Hot on the heels for the Banjo Paterson Final at $4.60 is then Marksmanship in barrier two with Michelle Payne to ride.
Maher’s Irish-bred Galileo stallion has won their past two on the trot and is looking to make it a hat-trick as they go up in class and distance here.
They won over the mile at Cranbourne two back before a 2000m victory at Caulfield last Saturday meaning they go up 600m on a seven day turnaround here.
The close third pick to win this year’s Banjo Paterson Final at $5 is then Sacred Flyer in barrier 11 (into 10), another Waller-trained hope.
A veteran seven-year-old son of High Chaparral, Sacred Flyer won over 2500m here on June 14 in a fine display before a fifth over the same track and distance on June 28 defeated six lengths by Crafty Cruiser when suffering respiratory issues.
With those breathing problems now amended they are back to atone and should be right in the mix at a track they are showing a nice affinity for.
The only other single figure chance in the tight markets is then Zuma Rock paying $8.
Peter Moody’s Rock Of Gibraltar gelding won over 2000m here in late May before a fourth at Moonee Valley over the same distance next run, and then a last start third here two weeks ago in the Crafty Cruiser-won Heat 5.
Also in the mix at more generous odds are then the likes of that Heat 5 winner Crafty Cruiser ($12) who goes up from 54kg to 55.5kg, Waller’s other Grafton Cup scratching Permit ($14) who carries the 60kg top weight and the Michael Moroney-trained Picture Editor ($17) for jockey Glen Boss coming off a win at Morphettville in the wet over the 2500m a fortnight back.
The complete Banjo Paterson Series Final 2014 odds are detailed below complete with links to Ladbrokes.com.au so you can back your early selections at the guaranteed best prices at the country’s best bookie!
2014 Banjo Paterson Series Final Odds