Tony McEvoy’s veteran galloper Mr Chard is narrowly leading a tight 2014 Cameron Handicap betting battle for this afternoon’s feature event at Newcastle Racecourse.
Two Group status races headline the action of the opening Newcastle Cup Carnival meeting including the $150,000 Group 3 Strathayr Cameron Handicap (1500m) which runs as Race 7 at 4:40pm.
A field of nine is engaged for the handicap clash and in the latest Cameron Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au and five of those are under double figures to win.
Sitting to of the current Cameron Handicap markets at $4.20 is Mr Chard, the seven-year-old Al Samer stallion coming off a nice half length victory in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury.
Before that he ran two good seconds including behind Group 1 winner Tiger Tees in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, form the bookies are tipping to stack up today at Newcastle where Mr Chard has his first look at the track at career start number 27.
Following in the markets are then a host of other livewire chances with:
#5 Hooked ($5) – John Thompson-trained Casino Prince stallion, this four-year-old is a progressive type that was competitive last season against his own age in the autumn features including a third behind Criterion in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m). Two runs this time in most recently behind Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), will improve on that however going up in distance against an easier field of rivals.
#9 Spy Decoder ($5) – Testa Rossa four-year-old from the Anthony Cummings stables, on the up-and-up after a good second over 1400m at Randwick on September 6. Group 3 performed back in May when fourth in the Hawkesbury Guineas and the Dead-rated track today works perfectly to his advantage as he’s won two from three starts on Dead going.
#4 Vilanova ($5) – Early Cameron Handicap market mover in form $6, nice gate four draw with Jimmy Cassidy to ride on 55.5kg this Chris Waller-trained Commands four-year-old won the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) in Brisbane back in May before a third in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m). Ran a credible first-up sixth in the Tramway and will be fitter for the run and appreciating more distance.
#7 Rugged Cross ($7.50) – Waller’s other hope is easing in the markets out from an opening quote of $6, the Cape Cross six-year-old coming off a win over 1500m in the mud at Rosehill from late last month carrying 55kg which they drop down from getting in here on the 54kg minimum with Tommy Berry retaining the ride.
There are no real roughies in this year’s Cameron Handicap either with the four remaining chances all under $20 to win including the next best in betting, 59kg top weight Slow Pace ($12) in the outside barrier for local trainer Kris Lees.
Third in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) here in March, the imported seven-year-old is twice Group 1 performed down under but disappointing in both including a distant last when 10th to Streama in the Doomben Cup last start in May.
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