The 22 horses nominated for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), which is running at Flemington this Saturday, has been whittled down to just nine following the final field announcement on Wednesday morning.
Perhaps some were put off by the presence of three of the world’s highest-rated sprinters with Lankan Rupee, Terravista, and Chautauqua all accepting their place in the race.
Mick Price’s Lankan Rupee headlines the field with the highest handicap rating and weight. The five-year-old gelding will jump from the outside gate and carry 58.5kg while jockey Craig Newitt will fly home from Singapore especially for the ride.
Lankan Rupee is already a five-time Group One winner and will look to make it six on Saturday as he defends his title in the Newmarket Handicap. The gelding jumped from barrier 12 (of 14) last year, showing great speed up the middle of the course, near the front without cover. He chased up 400 metres out with brilliant acceleration to thrash the top field and win by over two lengths.
He’ll be hard to beat on Saturday, especially considering his performance in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up on February 21. Carrying 58.5kg, Lankan Rupee tracked up on the outside of the main pack and was only one length off Deep Field at 400 metres. He hit the front with 200 to go and drew right away in a fantastic two and three-quarter length win.
On the opposite end of the 2015 Newmarket Handicap field will be the joint highest-rated sprinter in the world Terravista, who has scored the inside jump from barrier one. The five-year-old gelding will have his work cut out for him on Saturday however as he aims to be the first horse in nearly 100 years to win the Newmarket Handicap first-up, a feat not achieved since 1917.
Terravista was last seen winning the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at the same track back in November.
The current Newmarket Handicap favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au is Chautauqua, set to jump from barrier three with Dwayne Dunn. The four-year-old gelding was runner-up to Terravista in the Darley Classic and resumed with a hard-fought victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 14, which he won in the closing moments ahead of Flamberge.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes revealed Chautauqua is not really a 1200 metre horse, believing he could win the Group 1 Doncaster Mile over 1600 metres next month, but that hasn’t stopped the support from punters.
“He’s not really a 1200-metre horse but he goes so well down the straight you have to run in this race,” he told TVN.
“He could run in and win a Doncaster, this horse.”
It’s hard to look past these three horses when it comes to discussing the 2015 Newmarket Handicap field but there are six other talented runners that could deliver an upset victory. These include Chris Waller’s Brazen Beau, Gai Waterhouse’s tough mare Driefontein, and former Perth-based gelding Watermans Bay.
Brazen Beau won both the Group 2 Roman Consul (1200m) and Group 1 Coolmore Stud Classic (1200m) back in the spring before resuming for a second placing in the Lightning Stakes. The three-year-old colt will jump from barrier five with star international jockey Joao Moreira returning to the saddle.
Check out the complete 2015 Newmarket Handicap field and barrier draw below. Betting markets for the race will go back up at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly so open your account now to get ready. New customers will receive up to $250 in a bonus match on their first bet.
2015 Newmarket Handicap Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||111x2213x1||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||9||58.5kg||116|
|2||x110x1151x||TERRAVISTA||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||1||56.5kg||112|
|3||2715x112x1||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||3||55.5kg||110|
|4||34×6665482||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||Craig Williams||2||52kg||98|
|5||x122x511x2||BRAZEN BEAU||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||5||52kg||108|
|6||0x62064228||DRIEFONTEIN||Gai Waterhouse||Chad Schofield||8||52kg||107|
|7||1144×42270||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||TBA||4||52kg||97|
|8||2x76621x25||WATERMANS BAY||Daniel Morton||James Winks||7||52kg||102|
|9||11x4342x20||DELECTATION||Chris Waller||Dean Yendall||6||50kg||90|