One time favourite Deep Field is the most notable absence from the list of Newmarket Handicap 2015 first acceptances taken by Racing Victoria today.
There are just 22 sprinters left in contention for this year’s $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) that runs on ‘Super Saturday’ at Flemington Racecourse on March 14.
Missing from the first declarations is the Team Hawkes-trained four-year-old Deep Field.
The Northern Meteor entire won his opening five career starts before going down first-up to runaway winner Lankan Rupee when third in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) last Saturday.
He is being kept separate by Hawkes Racing then to his star stablemate Chautauqua and is now likely heading to Sydney for a shot at a Group 1 win in the $400,000 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Chautauqua meanwhile leads the latest Newmarket Handicap odds at bookmakers around the country at around $3.20 to break his Group 1 duck.
The talented Encosta De Lago four-year-old was runner-up to Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington at the end of his spring prep before returning to win the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14.
Hot on his heels in the pre-field Newmarket Handicap betting markets also at three dollars-something to win is the world’s equal highest-rated sprinter Lankan Rupee.
Mick Price’s star Redoute’s Choice five-year-old is a five-time Group 1 winner thanks to his ultra-impressive runaway win over Brazen Beau in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes last Saturday.
He won that by nearly three lengths in his first run since finishing third in the Darley Classic back on Emirates Stakes Day.
His other elite level titles are in the Manikato Stakes (Moonee Valley), TJ Smith Stakes (Randwick) the Oakleigh Plate (Caulfield) and between those last two – last year’s Newmarket Handicap.
Also dominating the Newmarket Handicap first acceptances and early betting markets along with Chautauqua and Lankan Rupee are then Brazen Beau and Terravista.
Chris Waller’s flying I Am Invincible colt won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington back on Derby Day before returning to run a brave second to Lankan Rupee in the Lightning Stakes last weekend.
The Joe Pride-trained Terravista meanwhile beat both Chautauqua and Lankan Rupee home in the Darley Classic to finish off his spring prep but hasn’t been seen since running last to I’m All The Talk in a 803m Warwick Farm hit-out at the start of the month.
Other notable Newmarket Handicap hopes still heading towards next month’s feature include the John Sadler-trained Vain Queen, Dan Morton’s Perth raider Watermans Bay, undefeated three-year-old Bel Esprit filly Sistonic who has had just the two starts to date and is a three-quarter sister to 2011 Newmarket Handicap winner Black Caviar, and Earthquake.
John O’Shea’s Blue Diamond Stakes winning filly Earthquake is down to resume racing this weekend in the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield as is short-distance specialist Vain Queen.
Other Newmarket hopes nominated for the Oakleigh Plate on Saturday include A Time For Julia, Atmospherical, Eloping, Fast ‘n’ Rocking, Flamberge, Lord Of The Sky and Nostradamus.
Along with Deep Field the other notable Newmarket Handicap withdrawals include 2014 Golden Slipper winner Mossfun, WA’s star sprinter Magnifisio, runner-up in the 2013 edition Moment Of Change who had colic earlier in the month and Rich Enuff.
See below for the full 2015 Newmarket Handicap first acceptances, the final field due out on Tuesday March 3.
Then visit Ladbrokes.com.au for the latest odds you can lock in now to clean up this autumn at the country’s premier online bookmaker.
2015 Newmarket Handicap First Declarations
Flemington Racecourse – 14/03/2015
|1||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||101|
|3||ARMADA||Peter G Moody||71|
|5||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller||108|
|6||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||110|
|7||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||110|
|11||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||92|
|12||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||100|
|13||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||103|
|16||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||116|
|17||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||98|
|18||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||86|
|19||SISTONIC||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||70|
|21||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||104|
|22||WATERMANS BAY||Daniel Morton||102|