The Team Hawkes-trained top weight Ninth Legion has opened top of the Ajax Stakes 2015 odds to win the last at Rosehill Gardens on Coolmore Classic Day this weekend.
A final field of 11 hopefuls is engaged for Rosehill Race 9 at 5:30pm (AEDT) on Saturday, Ninth Legion leading the Ladbrokes.com.au markets for his year’s $175,000 Group 2 APN Outdoor Ajax Stakes (1500m).
The Fastnet Rock five-year-old heads towards the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 4 during The Championships.
He has had three runs this time in with a first-up win in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) in January, a second in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) and then a seventh to Apollo Stakes winner Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) last time out on February 28.
In the Chipping Norton Ninth Legion carried 59kg from barrier 12 with Timothy Bell in the saddle and on Saturday he has the same weight but jumps from gate one with Tommy Berry riding.
Following Ninth Legion in the Ajax Stakes betting markets are Rudy ($5.50) and Red Excitement ($6) drawn in barriers nine and six respectively.
The Helen Page-trained Red Dazzler four-year-old Rudy was on fire during his spring – summer season including a Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) win at Randwick on December 13.
He came up against a smart Godolphin import then first-up at Warwick Farm on Chipping Norton Stakes Day and was far from disgraced when running second to It’s Somewhat in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m).
Red Excitement represents local trainer Gerald Ryan and comes off the same lead-up run when eighth in the Liverpool City Cup.
Before that he won five consecutive races, including Flemington’s Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) in January, with connections hoping he can get back to that form on Saturday.
Also on $6 with Red Excitement is early market mover San Diego, backed in from his opening odds of $7.
The John O’Shea-trained Exceed And Excel four-year-old, 12th in the Victoria Derby during the spring, comes off a first-up victory in a Benchmark 85 at Rosehill on February 21 and is back up in class this weekend.
The other single figure hopes in the markets are then in-form O’Reilly six-year-old Burbero ($8.50) and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Pornichet ($9).
Bjorn Baker’s Burbero won back-to-back races over a mile and 1500m respectively earlier this season before seconds behind Greatwood in the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) on February 21 and Faust in the Listed Canberra Cup (2000m) last Sunday.
Pornichet is second-up here shooting for his third second-up win from four attempts following a ninth in the Liverpool City Cup, the Sandown Stakes winning import tipped to improve when up in distance having had his first official Sydney start.
It’s a wide open field for the punters to sort through meanwhile with four of the other five runners all at $18 or under including Liverpool City Cup fourth placegetter Malavio ($10) in the outside barrier and the Anthony Cummings-trained Spy Decoder ($12).
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