Outside the four Group 1 Randwick features in Sydney for the opening meeting of The Championships this weekend, the 2015 Chairman’s Handicap is the major support race and below is our insider tips on the staying showdown.
Originally this year’s $300,000 Group 2 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) drew a final field of 11 stayers.
The same hoof-related issues that ruled her out of running in The BMW last weekend however have flared up again and the Donna Logan-trained former Oaks winner Rising Romance is out of the field.
She was to have carried the 59kg top weight and her scratching sees the remaining 10 runners carrying between 54.5kg and the 53kg minimum, compacting the weights considerably.
The country’s leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au have a tight Chairman’s Handicap betting market open with four single figure hopes currently led by Scratchy Bottom at $3.90.
Drawn nicely in barrier four with Craig Williams to ride, the Michael Kent-trained Sebring mare comes off a win over Rising Romance in the Group 3 Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on March 7.
She runs at Randwick for the first time and is also up over the distance for the first time, how she handles a notable 700m further than her longest distanced win to date key to her chances.
Following very closely in the latest Chairman’s Handicap odds are then market mover Disclaimer ($4.50) smashed in from an opening quote of $9 and Grand Marshal ($4.60) in barrier three with Joao Moreira in the saddle.
The Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Dansili gelding Disclaimer jumps from gate two with Sam Clipperton replacing Damian Browne in the saddle, the five-year-old on the short back-up after running fifth to Gai Waterhouse’s Doncaster Mile hope Pornichet in the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) last weekend.
Grand Marshall meanwhile represents Sydney’s best trainer Chris Waller, the fellow Dansili five-year-old last seen running fourth when beaten under two lengths by stablemate Permit in the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) on March 21.
The last of the single figure Chairman’s hopes at $7.50, in from $10, is Glen Boss’s mount Sir John Hawkwood representing Peter Moody and coming off a distant sixth in the Canberra Cup from March 8.
With so many live wire chances, including also Waller’s Manion Cup winner Permit (410) and the rails-drawn Phrases ($10) who ran second in the same lead-up race, below are our Chairman’s Handicap tips to have you backing a winner at Ladbrokes.com.au on Easter Saturday!
#2 Disclaimer ($4.40)
Happy to follow the money trail here and take the $4.40 being offered for Team Snowden’s import who will be peakingat this distance. He’s well performed up to a mile and a half and looks to be crying out for more than 2000m after his two most recent runs. Has class and is better than his run last weekend when only three lengths off Pornichet who is at a similar price to win the Doncaster on Saturday. Drops from 55.5kg to 54.5kg and barrier two suits as well.
#6 Phrases ($10)
Bindi Cheers’ 53kg lightweight is down 1.5kg off the weight he had on her back when three quarters of a length away second in the Manion Cup leading into this. The Casino Prince five-year-old can improve and return to winning form at Randwick where he recently won the Randwick City Stakes (2000m) as a 30/1 roughie. Always over the odds, including in the Gosford Cup (2100m) when third to Midsummer Sun in January at 40/1 and his 100/1 win at Rosehill in December over 1900m. Well-weighted and well-priced in a race without a genuine standout.
#3 Permit ($10)
Waller has two in the race and this is the longer priced of the duo but better fancied in our books. The veteran eight-year-old is in the outside draw but the metres are there to overcome the wide start. Ran 10th in the Parramatta and Canberra Cups earlier this autumn but bounced back when up over 2400m to win the Manion Cup carrying 54.5kg. Jockey Tommy Berry stays on and he is on the same weight so can be in the finish again over 200m more surely.
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change