Paul Messara’s returning three-year-old Panzer Division is the short-priced favourite in the 2015 Expressway Stakes odds for Saturday to beat home a field of older rivals at Rosehill Gardens.
The opening Group race of the year in Sydney, this weekend’s $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) features an 11-horse field of weight-for-age hopefuls.
Getting weight the advantage as the young gun in the field with 55kg, Messara’s Group 1 performed Redoute’s Choice colt pays $3.30 after easing out from $3.20 through Ladbrokes.com.au in the early Expressway Stakes betting markets.
He is drawn wide in the outside alley for jockey James McDonald and has won his only other first-up assignment.
Winner of the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) on a Heavy (9) Randwick track last September, Panzer Division was last seen running fifth to Hampton Court when well beaten in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on October 11.
That followed on from another Group 1 fifth when under three lengths off Chris Waller’s dual Doncaster Mile champ Sacred Falls in the George Main Stakes over the mile the month before.
Panzer Division has had one official trial leading into the Expressway Stakes when third only half a length off Coolmore Stud Stakes runner-up Delectation over 740m at Randwick on January 15.
In an open Expressway Stakes market there are then four other single figure chances with:
- #4 Weary ($5.50) – The best fancied of Waller’s five Expressway Stakes hopes this weekend, French import Weary jumps from a nice barrier four draw with Tommy Berry aboard. The Astronomer Royal gelding, third in the Doncaster Mile and second in the All Aged Stakes last autumn in Sydney, hasn’t raced since failing to fire when dead last (12th) in the Tramway Stakes in the wet last September. He trialled well at Rosehill over 900m though on January 20 and runs well fresh.
- #7 That’s A Good Idea ($6.50) – Wide gate 10 draw for the in-form Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Flying Spur five-year-old who has had three runs this summer including two black-type seconds in the Takeover Target Stakes and Carrington Stakes this month. The latest was only on January 24 so is on the short turnaround here. Is a previous winner at the track and distance though and is tracking well with a feature win in sight.
- #1 Boban ($7) – Multiple Group 1 winner for Waller this son of Bernardini was a bit flat during the spring including an Epsom Handicap ninth he’ll be out to atone for during the autumn carnival. Won his lead-up trial from last week over 900m at this track though, but has had six starts for zero top three runs over the distance so could be better when stretched out later this prep.
- #10 Driefontein ($9) – Former Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner from the Gai Waterhouse stables, this five-year-old Fastnet Rock mare comes off a good fourth to stablemate Spurtonic when only 0.7 lengths away in the Magic Millions Cup from January 10 over 1400m at the Gold Coast. Has run top two in half of her seven runs over this distance and third-up should be nearing her peak in a field lacking genuine sprinters.
Outside of these are then a host of other top hopes at more generous prices including the Peter Moody-trained Thermal Current ($11) and Takeover Target Stakes third placegetter Territory ($13).
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