The bookies are having a hard time separating the top two juveniles in the 2015 Pago Pago Stakes markets ahead of Saturday’s Rosehill Gardens clash with Paceman and Inner Circle batting for the punters’ favouritism.
Due to jump as Race 3 at 1:35pm (AEDT), the $175,000 Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) is one of two races on the program whose winner earns a ballot free ride into Saturday week’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) back at the track.
Open to the colts and geldings, the Pago Pago Stakes field this autumn features nine youngsters with the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Paceman the narrow $3.30 favourite in the latest markets at Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead if Inner Circle ($3.50).
Drawn in the outside barrier nine for jockey Damian Browne, Duporth colt Paceman was last seen running sixth to Headwater in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on February 21.
He is tipped to improve off that however after a nice second in a barrier trial behind Furnaces at Warwick Farm six days later, Furnaces going on to run second to Gai Waterhouse’s Golden Slipper favourite Vancouver in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) last Saturday.
John O’Shea’s lightly-raced Street Cry colt Inner Circle meanwhile has just his second career start in the Pago after a winning debut at the track over 1100m on February 25.
He jumped from the inside alley that day and gets another gun draw for the weekend when up in class in barrier two, James McDonald retaining the ride.
Paceman pays $34 in the all-in Golden Slipper odds at Ladbrokes while Inner Circle, who is currently not nominated, at a shorter $21 with connections still needing to pay the $150,000 late entry.
Aside from the two close favourites there are three other single figure hopes in the Pago Pago Stakes betting markets this year including $6 third elect Raphael’s Cat in barrier three.
Waterhouse’s Redoute’s Choice colt, like Inner Circle, won on debut over 1100m at Rosehill on February 25 from barrier one.
He looks to retain his undefeated status then up in Group 2 company here with Tim Clark staying in the saddle.
The others under $10 to win are then the rails-drawn Odyssey Moon ($8) and the Chris Waller-trained Vanbrugh ($9).
Rodney Northam’s Snitzel colt Odyssey Moon won the Inglis Nursery at Randwick on debut in December before a fourth in the Inglis Classic at Rosehill first-up in February and a last start second to Exosphere in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
Exosphere is now the $4.60 second favourite to win the Golden Slipper so the form of the Skyline Stakes could stack up again here.
Just outside of these runners is then the Team Hawkes-trained Rageese at $11 before the markets open up for the final three.
See below for the latest Pago Pago Stakes 2015 betting markets, odds open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where first time depositing players only need to quote the code BETBONUS to have their first deposit matched up to $250!