Ace Sydney hoop James McDonald believes the $14 being offered for his mount Hauraki to win Saturday’s 2015 Phar Lap Stakes is a “big price” and one the improver can run better than at Rosehill.
Ten three-year-olds make up the field for the $175,000 Group 2 Cellarbrations Phar Lap Stakes (1500m), the favourite of which at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Chris Waller-trained ATC Oaks hope Winx ($4).
It’s a tight Phar Lap Stakes betting market however with Gai Waterhouse’s Surround Stakes runner-up Supara ($4.20) and Waller’s other hope Wine Tales ($4.50) on the rails hot on the favourite’s heels.
Godolphin’s No. 1 jockey McDonald meanwhile jumps aboard the John O’Shea-trained Reset colt Hauraki, out to improve on a dead last to subsequent Australian Guineas winner Wandjina in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 21.
Hauraki was beaten over nine lengths in the CS Hayes Stakes but McDonald rates him as the definite improver in Saturday’s Phar Lap Stakes field and has warned punters not to rule him out in an open race.
“I reckon Hauraki will improve coming back to Sydney,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“He looks well suited in that field.
“I’m not sure about markets but…seems a big price for a horse with his ability.”
McDonald had it spot-on last weekend at Randwick tipping Furnaces in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m), the colt running second to Gai Waterhouse’s freakish Golden Slipper hope Vancouver.
“I thought his run was super,” the hoop said of Furances’s Todman effort.
“We had to do the majority of the work and finished on inferior ground.”
Furnaces is now rated a $15 chance in the pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to win Saturday week’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
Hauraki meanwhile runs in the Phar Lap Stakes looking to earn a shot at the $2 million Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Doncaster Mile Day, April 4, during Sydney’s The Championships.
After his last start the horse is at $26 in the all-in Australian Derby odds led by New Zealand Derby winner Mongolian Khan ($5).
Hauraki’s two previous career wins were both in Sydney during the spring, and it is a return to his home state this weekend that McDonald believes will help him recapture that form.
“He’s shown that he’s much better suited up here and this is a very winnable race for him,” he said.
“He’ll get over even more ground so stepping up to a new trip is only a positive. And a win here gives the team a couple of options where either way he could end up in the Derby.”
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