Godolphin five-year-old horse Contributer is favourite to win the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), which is the feature race of Stakes Day at Flemington on Saturday.
Contributer is $5 favourite in the Emirates Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, followed by Hooked and Lucky Hussler at $7.
He may be the race favourite but hoop James McDonald has acknowledged the entire will face his share of challenges in the race, which he’ll be able to overcome them.
The John O’Shea-trained horse is both dropping back in distance but rising in class from his last start in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m), which he won ahead of Noble Protector by one length. After jumping from barrier five, Contributer got straight into a prominent position before pushing into the clear around the bend. He loomed up at the 300m and ran away for the win.
This was the five-year-old’s first start in Australia after making a name for himself in Britain. This year alone he took out the Listed Magnolia Stakes (2011m) and Listed Wolferton Handicap (2011m) though the 2014 Emirates Stakes will be his first step up to Group One company.
McDonald admits that the race is a “query” for Contributer but that he has the ability to adapt.
“He showed an explosive turn of foot last start,” McDonald said via TVN.
“He could not have been more impressive at Caulfield, he surprised us just how well he went.
“He put a reasonably good field away within two strides. He was left in front 300 metres from home and he just idled.
“He could have won by three, four, five lengths.”
McDonald did note however that Contributer will only benefit from getting his first start in Australia on October 18 and can only improve from here.
“I’m really looking forward to riding him,” the hoop said.
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