This weekend the Winter Challenge 2014 takes centre stage at Rosehill Gardens, and to help punters kick off the new season with a winning bet below we have our tips on the handicap clash.
Eight middle distance sprinter-milers are engaged in this year’s $100,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m), running as Rosehill Race 5 at 2:50pm, the favourite of which at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Queenstown.
Coming off an impressive three length victory in the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) from July 10 the Stratum five-year-old needs to prove she can sprint as well.
She’s up in the weights as well (54kg to 57kg) so the mare and her hoop Tim Clark have their work cut out for them here.
Queenstown has done some nice speed work through the week however and the stable is confident.
Even so she’s drifting in the Winter Challenge odds and is in fact equal $4 favourite, right out from $3.60, with the Jason Coyle-trained Scream Machine.
Scream Machine has won two of their three lead-up runs but, like Queenstown, has to overcome a weight challenge carrying the 59kg top weight.
It’s a wide open market then with three other single figure fancies including market mover Romantic Moon ($4.80) for James & Bart Cummings who comes via the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) like Scream Machine.
More Than Ready mare Romantic Moon ran second, when still a three-year-old filly in the July 19 showdown at Rosehill, while Scream Machine was one further back in third behind the winner Generalife.
So are these three the ones to lock into your Winter Challenge 2014 trifecta selections at Ladbrokes.com.au?
Or is there value further down the markets from the likes of Waller’s last start Randwick winner I’m Imposing ($7.50) or their shorter priced stablemate He’s Your Man ($5.50)?
#6 He’s Your Man ($5.50)
Waller’s French import was out as long as $7 earlier in the week but the money is coming and we’re happy to follow that money trail. Resumed with a first-up third in the Civic Stakes behind subsequent Winter Stakes’ winner Generalife and the form of that race is holding. That was over 1350m and they will appreciate getting out over further up over 1500m here. Second up record (3-1-0-1) is good, will have improved off their last start, get in well in the weights with 55kg and should get a gun run from barrier three with Sydney’s premiership winning jockey James McDonald another plus.
#7 Romantic Moon ($4.80)
Another well weighted hope the punters are coming for, she was at $5 but is firming fast and the lead-up form explains why. Turning four on Friday, as a three-year-old she beat home the older mares over this track and distance two back in an eye-catching run before her braves Winter Stakes second. Same kind of class, 1500m suits better, on the minimum again (54kg) with Brenton Avdulla riding from barrier five. Small field, she’s got the class.
#3 I’m Imposing ($7.50)
Think Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will have two in the finish here with veteran I’m Imposing up in weights but a good price. Jockey Tye Angland jumps off Scream Machine in favour of the mount on this Danehill Dancer nine-year-old. Getting on in the years but showed they still have a zest for racing on July 12 with a win in the Shoot Out Handicap (1600m) at Randwick beating a decent field. Go up two kilos to 57.5kg here but can finish in the money with the right run up beside Romantic Moon.
If you do your dough in the Winter Challenge 2014 this weekend, never fear with Ladbrokes here to pick up the pieces! They’re offering a money back special up to $50 in a bonus bet if your first fixed win bet on the race finishes second on Saturday.
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change