The world’s equal highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee heads the Newmarket Handicap 2015 weights released by Racing Victoria on Tuesday with 58.5kg for the March 14 feature.
Late great sprinting champion Hay List set the metric weight-carrying record in 2012 when defeating a crack field with the 58.5kg in that year’s Newmarket, a record the Mick Price-trained Lankan Rupee is out to equal this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Following the latest round of declarations there are 22 sprinters heading towards this year’s $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on Super Saturday.
Newmarket Handicap weights are now also out with the top weight Lankan Rupee having won his fifth elite level trophy last start on February 21 in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) down the Flemington straight.
The boom son of Redoute’s Choice won last year’s Newmarket Handicap carrying 56.5kg and so will need to be at his best with two kilos extra for his title defense, Lankan Rupee looking to become the first back-to-back winner since Razor Sharp (1982-83).
The five-year-old now sits as the $3.60 second pick in Newmarket Handicap betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, the markets topped by the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua at $3.20.
Encosta De Lago four-year-old Chautauqua has won five of his 11 starts to date including his first-up victory at Caulfield on February 14 in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m).
He gets in the Newmarket Handicap weights on 55.5kg, one of just four horses weighted above 52kg with a 50kg minimum.
Following Lankan Rupee in the weights meanwhile on 56.5kg, last year’s winning weight, is the world’s other equal highest sprinter Terravista.
Joe Pride’s Captain Rio gelding beat home both Chautauqua (2nd) and Lankan Rupee (3rd) in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival but is yet to resume racing for the season.
He goes first-up into the Newmarket, currently occupying the third line of betting at $4.80 to be the first horse since Polycrates (1917) to win the race off a spell.
Criterion is the third heaviest weighted hopeful for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig on 56kg, a weight last carried to victory in a Newmarket Handicap in 2008 by Weekend Hussler.
Smart Sebring four-year-old Criterion, winner of the Rosehill Guineas – Australian Derby double in Sydney last autumn, was last seen running a brave third behind star locals Designs On Rome and Military Attack in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin in December.
That was his first run for Hayes & Dabernig, having previously been prepared by David Hayes, and he runs for the first time since this weekend in the $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick.
Criterion is the $101 roughie of the Newmarket Handicap betting markets however with his acceptance into the field far from confirmed.
After Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee and Terravista the next best fancied horse to win the Newmarket and the last of the single figure hopes is Brazen Beau at $5.50.
Chris Waller’s I Am Invincible colt won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in November and returned to run a brave second to Lankan Rupee in the Lightning Stakes.
Brazen Beau is allocated 52kg for the Newmarket Handicap.
Other notable chances getting in on that light weight along with their current odds include Oakleigh Plate fourth placed Vain Queen ($17), the Peter Moody-trained Rubiton Stakes runner-up Flamberge ($21), third in that race behind Chautauqua Atmospherical ($26), last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winning filly Earthquake ($26) and the Anthony Cummings-trained Fontelina ($26) who hasn’t run since a second in last year’s William Reid Stakes.
There are also five chances on the 50kg minimum this year with the best fancied in the markets being Lindsay Park’s lightly-raced Bel Esprit filly Sistonic ($26).
See below for the current Newmarket Handicap 2015 weights.
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2015 Newmarket Handicap Weights
Flemington Racecourse – 14/03/2015
|1||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||1||58.5kg||116|
|3||CRITERION (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||3||56kg||111|
|4||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||4||55.5kg||110|
|5||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller||5||52kg||108|
|8||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||8||52kg||104|
|9||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||9||52kg||103|
|11||WATERMANS BAY||Daniel Morton||11||52kg||102|
|12||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||12||52kg||101|
|13||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||13||52kg||100|
|16||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||16||52kg||97|
|18||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||18||50kg||92|
|20||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||20||50kg||86|
|21||ARMADA||Peter G Moody||21||50kg||70|
|22||SISTONIC||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||22||50kg||70|