Money has eased on the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Queenstown to win the Winter Challenge 2014 at Rosehill this weekend with the Grafton Cup winner dropping back 850 metres.
Connections at Tulloch Lodge remain confident Stratum five-year-old Queenstown is sharp enough to salute for the Ladbrokes.com.au punters who can back their favourites in the $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) and get their money back up to $50 is their runner finishes second.
However there are questions arising over whether she can come back off her three length victory in the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) from July 10 and have the zip to handle the speed in a 1500m clash.
There’s also a weight rise for the favourite to overcome, Queenstown going up from 54kg at Grafton to 57kg in the Winter Challenge field.
She opened top of the odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.60 earlier in the week but has since gone out to $3.90 in her final winter run before being turned out ahead of a big spring targeting Group 1 races like The Metropolitan in Sydney and possibly even Melbourne’s 2014 Caulfield Cup in October.
Money has also eased on the second pick in Winter Challenge betting, the Jason Coyle-trained 59kg top weight Scream Machine out from $4 to $4.20.
A good barrier four draw and Blake Shinn are the positives, as is their nice lead-up form including a win at the track and distance two back.
However it’s a notable weight and they did lose regular rider Tye Angland to rival I’m Imposing.
The big Winter Challenge betting market mover meanwhile is the James & Bart Cummings-trained Romantic Moon who also won over the 1500m at Rosehill before her last start second in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) on July 19.
Drawn in barrier five with Brenton Avdulla to ride on the 54kg minimum, the visiting Victorian mare steps out as a four-year-old for the first time here and the punters are loving her with Romantic Moon in from $5 to $4.60.
Next best in betting at $5 is then the Chris Waller-trained He’s Your Man coming up trumps with barrier three and the season’s best Sydney hoop James McDonald in the saddle.
The French import was at $7 earlier in the week and so has also enjoyed a plunge in the markets as punters do the form and tip improvement on their first-up run four weeks ago when third in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m).
The last of the single figure chances at $7.50, out from $7, is then the fellow Waller-trained I’m Imposing who won over 1600m at Randwick last time out but goes up two kilograms to 57.5kg this weekend.
See below for the full Winter Challenge 2014 odds complete with links directly to Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll get a bonus bet up to $50 back on your selections if they finish second best in the feature at Rosehill!