The opening Group event on the Randwick race card for this weekend is the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap– betting tips for which are listed below.
Running as Sydney Race 2 at 1:15pm, this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) features a final field of just seven hopefuls.
Favourite of those in the Bill Ritchie Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of the $500 spring bonus bet offer for a short time when you deposit and quote the code SPRINGBONUS, at a price of $2.60 is Rock Sturdy.
Drawn in the outside barrier with Corey Brown to ride the Joe Pride-trained Fasntet Rock four-year-old is a progressive entire who has won two of his past three starts.
Back-to-back wins in August were followed by a last start fourth when carrying 60kg in the mud behind Supreme Warrior over this track and distance on September 6 where he was the beaten favourite.
Dropping right back to the 54kg minimum then as he steps up in class this Saturday will suit Rock Sturdy who could be hard to hold out.
All but the returning former top three-year-old Manawanui ($14) who races for the first time in 11 months are then at single figures to win the Bill Ritchie this year.
Other top fancies in betting include the rails-drawn Group 2 winner Pheidon ($4.40) for Gai Waterhouse and Ron Quinton’s always honest eight-year-old Monton ($5.50) who carries the 59kg top weight.
So with so many live wire chances in a wide open markets who do you back and who do you sack in the Bill Ritchie Stakes on Saturday?
#5 Rock Sturdy ($2.60)
Deserving favourite again here despite doing the punters’ money in last time out when a wet Randwick track got the better of him. Had handled the muddy conditions the start before over the same track and distance however so will be looking to atone on Saturday when stepping up in class. Hasn’t raced in Group 3 company since April over 1600m here when third to Gypsy Diamond in the Carbine Club Stakes. Will relish the 54kg here which is the big advantage and a six kilo drop from the weight he carried a fortnight ago.
#6 Aussies Love Sport ($9)
One of two in the race for Waterhouse, Kerrin McEvoy rides this Redoute’s Choice four-year-old from barrier four. Winner of last year’s Group 3 Ming Dynasty Stakes but was last (8th) behind an upset winner in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) last time out. The step up to 1400m, which he’s got a good record over (3-2-0-1), however is going to suit. Previous winner at the track and distance as mentioned so expect improvement. Also drops back from 58kg to 54kg so will feel that weight relief.
#1 Monton ($5.50)
Veteran and top weight of the field in barrier three with Sam Clipperton in the saddle, Quinton’s Catbird eight-year-old has his 51st start here. Winning strike rate isn’t great with only nine victories to date but has been thereabouts this time in when fourth to Terravista in the Show Country and fifth in the Tramway behind Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina last start beaten only 2.5 lengths. Goes up four kilos though so will need to be strong to the line. Firmer track will aid his cause.
Get in on the top racing action in both Sydney and Melbourne this Saturday at the hottest odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where punters can also access Best Tote + 20% on the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield!