The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained galloper Leebaz is out to atone for his unplaced Doncaster run when dropping back in class but going up in distance for his Randwick return in the Japan Racing Association Plate 2015 this weekend in Sydney.
Due to jump as Randwick Race 5 at 3:05pm (AEST) on All Aged Stakes Day this Saturday, the $150,000 Group 3 Japan Racing Association (JRA) Plate (2000m) features a dozen hopefuls lining up in the handicap clash.
Early favourite in the Japan Racing Association Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.20, out from $3, to win is Team Hawkes’ Zabeel five-year-old Leebaz.
The five-year-old only had 50.5kg on his back last time out at the track when a disappointing 11th, failing to let down on the Soft (7) course in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
He’ll get similar conditions, though hopefully a little firmer underfoot this weekend, when seeking atonement in the JRA Plate.
While it is a notably easier field of rivals, Leebaz will still have to be on the improve as he goes up to 58.5kg.
A close fourth over the Flemington mile in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) during the spring, Leebaz has had a total of four Randwick runs for a win and a second and so even with the big weight is the top pick with the bookies.
Three of his rivals are also under $10 for the win including the $5 second favourite Malice in barrier six for the carnival’s form hoop to follow James McDonald.
Teofilo four-year-old Malice has run first or second in his four most recent starts including a win in Rosehill’s Listed ATC Cup (2000m) late last November.
This season he returned when second in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m), beating the third-placed Leebaz, with his second-up start happening on Saturday.
Malice has won two of his three previous second-up runs and will appreciate the extra metres of the JRA Plate, but is another going up in the weights from 55.5kg last start to 57.5kg on Saturday.
Equal $7 third favourites for the win are then Our Voodoo Prince and Kourkam drawn at opposite ends of the field in barriers 10 and two respectively.
Damien Oliver rides Chris Waller’s seven-year-old import Our Voodoo Prince who was last seen finishing second behind Pornichet in the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 28.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Kourkam meanwhile has Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle after the pair won the Albury Gold Cup (2000m) on March 27 giving the French import his second win from three starts this season.
Outside of those under $10 but still with genuine Japan Racing Association Plate claims are the likes of Peter & Paul Snowden’s Not A Single Doubt mare Gypsy Diamond ($11), the rails-drawn top weight Index Linked ($12) with 59kg and Glen Boss riding the Waller-trained four-time winner over the distance, and Snitzel six-year-old Malavio ($13) coming via a Doncaster Prelude sixth when beaten just over two lengths.
See below for the complete Japan Racing Association Plate 2015 odds, fixed win betting open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where first depositing players are eligible for up to $250 in bonus bets when quoting the code BETBONUS!