Horses kicking off their new season campaigns ahead of the better spring races are doing so right around the country this weekend including in Adelaide’s Spring Stakes 2014 at Morphettville Racecourse.
A final field of nine gallopers make up the field for this year’s $115,000 Group 3 David R Coles AM Spring Stakes (1200m), scheduled as Morphettville Race 7 at 4:12pm on the weekend.
Top two in the field and Ladbrokes.com.au markets are the resuming Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails ($2.60) and Ken Sweeney’s local Zariz six-year-old Riziz ($2.80).
Seven-year-old Happy Trails is first-up here in their home state having won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and finished second to Shamus Award in the Group 1 Cox Plate in their two most recent runs last spring.
Out recovering from injury after that missing the autumn but trialed well in a recent hit-out here and reeks of class as they head towards another run in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship at Moonee Valley in October.
Riziz meanwhile is a consistent sprinter shooting for their 10th win at start number 26, and their fourth from eight runs at this track and distance.
Last start at Morphettville was a third in the Group 1 The Goodwood here in May, a Flemington 10th and Caulfield 3rd following with a trail win at home over 1000m in the wet last week sharpening them up.
So will one of the top two in Spring Stakes betting take it out?
Or can a longer priced hope steal the show such as the Richard Jolly-trained Karacatis ($4.80) from the rails or Daytona Grey from the stables of Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas?
#2 Riziz ($2.80)
Think the bookies have the Spring Stakes quinella right but just in the reverse order with Riziz to defeat the narrow favourite. Happy Trails has the class but not the first-up record and this really isn’t the race they need to win. Riziz meanwhile doesn’t have a Cox Plate campaign on the horizon and so will likely be pushing harder for more black-type on their record with a first-up win. Their resuming record is also much better (6-2-1-2) and they’re a three time winner at the track and distance. No pace in this race but if they can slot in and hold on they’re the one to beat on this occasion.
#1 Happy Trails ($2.60)
Dual Group 1 winner so no denying their class but don’t think they’ll be firing on all cylinders first-up over this distance. Resuming record has just one win from eight starts, which was actually in this race two years ago, and the same goes for the 1200m. Targeting the Cox Plate, which they ran a luckless second in last year, and think that and other Group 1s in Melbourne will be the focus. Still class along has them finishing closer than their fifth from 12 months ago.
#5 Daytona Grey ($7.50)
Out wider in barrier eight but without any real speed don’t think that will be an issue. Won over 1100m here in the wet two back before a third behind Mr Good Cat on July 26. Step up to 1200m will suit better as their four wins from 10 starts at the distance shows. Handles all going but a bit of rain helps and with the track currently a Slow (6) think they’ll be a definite top three chance.
Get in on this weekend’s racing action online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where futures markets for the upcoming Group 1s in Melbourne like the Cox Plate are already out and feature Spring Stakes runner Happy Trails as equal $15 second pick!
*Odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change