A small but classy field of potential stayers will run in Epsom Handicap Day’s supporting race, the 2014 Craven Plate this Saturday, with betting tips featured below.
Following the scratching of Chris Waller’s Hawkspur in favour of the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne, the Group 2 Craven Plate (2000m) will feature a small field of just six.
With the early favourite Hawkspur officially ruled out, prices for the Craven Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au shortened dramatically with Rising Romance stepping into odds-on favouritism at $1.70.
The Donna Logan-trained mare will enjoy a rails run with James McDonald to ride after Hawkspur’s barrier one opened up.
The four-year-old has placed in seven of her 12 career starts, which includes four wins. A successful off-season campaign included a Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) second placing as well as a Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) win in April.
However a disappointing spring campaign so far, including a seventh place in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) her last time out, led Logan to take a step down in class for the Craven.
There are three other single figure hopefuls to win the Craven Plate, made up of Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup runner-up Moriarty ($4.40), Group 3 Grand Prix (2200m) third Vilanova ($7), and Kris Lees’ Slow Pace ($8).
#7 Rising Romance ($1.70)
Donna Logan’s mare is odds-on favourite for many reasons. She’ll enjoy the rails run from barrier one after Hawkspur’s scratching, and will also enjoy running three kilos lighter than her top competitors. The Group One winner should race rings around her rivals as she steps down in class and a step back up in distance will only help her.
#6 Vilanova ($7)
Chris Waller’s one of three runners on the field, Vilanova will start from the middle barrier under international superstar jockey Joao Moreira. Like many of the horses in this race, Vilanova has struggled with his form in the spring racing season thus far, but did find success during Brisbane’s Winter Racing Carnival, with a Grand Prix win and Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) second. A step back up to the 2000m+ distance should be an advantage for the four-year-old.
#2 Moriarty ($4.40)
Found success during the 2014 winter racing campaign with a Group Two first-second double but has failed to impress during spring. The gelding has only managed a midfield finish at best and finished last on his last start. Despite drawing the widest barrier, money is coming in for the seven-year-old and he could manage a placing.
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*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change