Caulfield Racecourse will play host to eight Group races this Saturday, marking the official commencement of the autumn carnival. One such race is the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m), which will see a small yet classy field of seven three-year-old fillies vie for top spot in the $150,000 race.
The Mick Price-trained Royal Snitzel is the $2.10 firm favourite in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au after winning three of her four starts and finishing runner-up in the fourth.
Royal Snitzel finished runner-up in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) last August and resumed last month to win a Benchmark 70 at Moonee Valley. The filly is one of just two ‘fit’ runners in the field but is that enough to justify her favouritism in the 2015 Kevin Hayes Stakes?
Check out our betting tips below to get a comprehensive guide of who to back.
#2 Afleet Esprit ($4.40)
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained filly will enjoy a great jump in the Kevin Hayes Stakes from barrier two with Damien Oliver to ride. This is the ideal trip for Afleet Esprit, who has won twice over 1200 metres. The filly enjoyed success during the spring, winning both the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) and Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m), however didn’t last over the mile in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) last time out. She has won four of her seven career starts, one of which was at Caulfield.
#7 Thinking Of You ($5.50)
Peter Moody’s Kevin Hayes Stakes hopeful Thinking Of You is lightly run compared to some of her rivals with just three starts to her name, two of which she won. The filly showed her potential in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at the end of spring, finishing third to top fillies First Seal and Winx. This will be Thinking Of You’s first test over 1200 metres but she’ll carry the least amount of weight (56kg) as she jumps from barrier four with Dale Smith.
#1 Fontein Ruby ($10)
Punters looking for a lucrative betting prospect in the Kevin Hayes Stakes should consider Robert Smerdon’s Fontein Ruby. The filly has placed in seven of her 12 career starts, two of which were at Caulfield and two of which were over 1200 metres. The filly won the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) during the spring before being set on an ill-advised middle distance campaign, running over 2000m and 2500m. Fontein Ruby will have to overcome a wide start from barrier seven with Mark Zahra but did it before in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m).
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