Autumn racing officially begins in Melbourne this Saturday with the first Group One race of the year – the CF Orr Stakes (1400m). Running in support of the CF Orr are seven other Group races, including the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).
A small yet classy field of just seven three-year-old fillies will contest the race, five of which are offering single figure odds in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Mick Price-trained Royal Snitzel is the $1.90 odds-on favourite, having won three of her four career starts and finishing runner-up in the fourth.
Royal Snitzel was runner-up in the Group 3 Lister Quezette Stakes (1100m) on the course proper last August and won a Benchmark 70 when resuming last month. She is one of only two fit runners not resuming in the race and will jump from barrier three with Dale Smith to ride.
However she faces tough competition from the remaining single figure betting options.
- #2 Afleet Esprit ($4.80) – the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained filly has won four of her seven starts including the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) and Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) during the spring. However she ran a disappointing second last in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m), which was her last time out back in October. Afleet Esprit will get a good jump from barrier two with Damien Oliver to ride.
- #7 Thinking Of You ($5.50) – Peter Moody’s three-year-old filly has won two of her three career starts and placed third in the other. Thinking Of You did well to earn third place in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) last October, her first black-type race. The filly will jump from gate four with Luke Nolen.
- #1 Fontein Ruby ($8.50) – Robert Smerdon’s promising filly will have to overcome a start from the widest gate when she resumes on Saturday. Fontein Ruby has had much more experience on the track then her rivals with a total of 12 starts, a third of which she won, including the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m). Was tested over 2500m last time out but seems much better suited to 1200m-1600m after running last.
- #5 Sabatini ($9.50) – the Lee & Shannon Hope-trained filly will enjoy the inside jump following the scratching of Amicus by Chris Waller. Sabatini won the Lister Quezette Stakes ahead of favourite Royal Snitzel last August and managed to run third in both the Cap D’Antibes Stakes and Thousand Guineas.
Check out the live odds available for the 2015 Kevin Hayes Stakes below. To place a bet simply click through to Ladbrokes.com.au. New customers will receive a $250 bonus match on their first bets when they quote code: BETBONUS.