This weekend in Melbourne a double shot of Group 3 racing headlines the Easter Saturday action at Caulfield Racecourse including the day’s marquee race, the Easter Cup 2015.
Running as Race 7 at 4:10pm (AEDT), this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Le Pines Funerals Easter Cup (2000m) field is down to 12 starters following the early scratching of Chris Waller’s defending champ Our Voodoo Prince.
It’s a tight Easter Cup betting battle at Ladbrokes.com.au with the top two in the markets hard to split.
Leading the war as it stands is the 59.5kg top weight, Tasmania’s The Cleaner at $3.20 in from $3.60.
His biggest threat is then Sertorius (57kg) at $3.80, the duo sitting one-two not only in the field but the odds as well.
Mick Burles’ veteran Savoire Vivre gelding from the Apple Isle has developed a cult following over his 48-start career to date that includes a number of Group 1 Victorian runs such as his Emirates Stakes third over the Flemington mile in the spring.
He has had two runs this time in, the latest being a brave fourth when two and a quarter lengths away in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
Over the same distance this weekend, The Cleaner is a gun chance again but does need to handle the hefty impost with regular rider Steven Arnold staying on in a nice barrier three draw.
Fellow seven-year-old Sertorius meanwhile hails from Geelong and comes off a nice second to Suavito, running in the Doncaster Mile in Sydney on Saturday, in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) in mid-March.
Following the dominant two are then another two single-figure hopes with Lindsay Park’s Summer Championship winner at Sandown Jacquinot Bay ($8) carrying 56kg from barrier eight and Emirates Stakes sixth placed five-year-old Escado one wider with Perth’s William Pike aboard on the 54kg minimum.
So will the top four run the Easter Cup first four or is there an upset on the cards for the punters at Ladbrokes this weekend?
#1 The Cleaner ($3.20)
He gives the kilos away to his rivals but is the deserving top weight and deserving favourite. No stranger to Group 1 racing in Melbourne and has handled tougher company than this. Drops back in class from his brave Australian Cup fourth and will appreciate that. Gets the run of the race from barrier three, Arnold knows him back-to-front, has the punters’ support and is full of depth. Distance is a non-issue but this is just his second start at Randwick so track is the only doubt. He’ll be controlling the pace though and can last the distance.
#2 Sertorius ($3.80)
Think the bookies have got the order right in this race, Sertorius with plenty of claims from barrier four on the back of a brave Blamey Stakes second with 59kg, the drop back to 57kg to suit. The Blamey Stakes was first-up and he should improve fitness-wise on that, plus he’s got a great Caulfield record (6-2-2-0) and solid second-up record (6-1-1-3) to suggest it’ll be a close finish to tune in for.
#6 Marksmanship ($15)
Plenty of chances to fill the final place in the trifecta and exotics but going with the Ciaron Maher-trained Marksmanship. So many Galileo’s and seven-year-olds in this race and here’s another one with claims. The Stallion was runner-up to subsequent Melbourne Cup third placed Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) last October before a second over 2400m in the Geelong Cup. First-up this season he was sixth in Bendigo’s Golden Mile, the extra metres to boost his chances this weekend at a track he’s yet to finish out of the money at (2-1-0-1).
Get behind your Easter Saturday race selections in both Melbourne and Sydney this weekend online at Ladbrokes.com.au and enjoy having your first deposit matched by the house up to $250 as a bonus bet when you quote the code BETBONUS!
2015 Chairman’s Stakes Odds