The bookmakers are having a hard time separating the top three fancies for the feature race in Sydney this weekend with a trio of gallopers fighting for top spot in the WJ McKell Cup 2015 betting markets at Royal Randwick.
Due to run as Race 6 at 3:05pm (AEST) this Saturday, the $100,000 Listed Sydney Markets Ltd McKell Cup (2400m) originally attracted a dozen stayers but the early scratching of the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Rawnaq leaves 11 in the mix.
Three of those are very tight in the markets with the narrow favourite being the in-form Sense Of Occasion ($4.20) who has eased out from an opening quote of $3.80.
Drawn nicely in barrier three, the Joe Pride-trained Street Sense four-year-old won over 1400m at Warwick Farm at the start of April before two nice seconds over 1600m and then 2000m last start in the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup at Rosehill on May 9.
He has winning form up to 2200m and in his only other 2400m run Sense Of Occasion ran second, so ticking plenty of boxes even though he is drifting.
Close second pick at $4.40 is then the widely-drawn Major Major in the outside alley but with time to overcome the gate.
Is a definite winning chance here with the Bryce Heys-trained Encosta De Lago six-year-old having won his past two on the trot over 2400m in the wet.
His record over the distance (5-2-1-1) is imposing then, the latest win being at Warwick Farm on May 6 when beating home Super Mover by two lengths carrying 59kg so the drop right back to 54kg also bodes well.
Occupying the third line of WJ McKell Cup betting is then the market mover Destiny’s Kiss in from $5.50 to $4.60 who veteran hoop Jim Cassidy rides from barrier seven on 58kg.
Joe Pride’s Power Of Destiny six-year-old ran fourth to Gypsy Diamond in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick on April 18 then finished third to Silverball in the Lord Mayors Cup with 57kg, and Cassidy aboard, last time out.
There are another two hopes under $10 for the McKell Cup win this weekend with the Kevin Moses-trained Song Of Tara Signing Flame ($7) and Chris Waller’s Zabeel mare Rezoned ($7.50) drawn in barriers six and eight respectively.
Singing Flame ran third in the JRA Plate last month and then finishing fourth in the Lord Mayors, which is shaping up as the lead-up race to follow into Saturday’s showdown.
Rezoned meanwhile comes off a 2200m third behind Leaders Road from last weekend at Scone, beaten under a length, and being bred to stay has lived up to that pedigree with winning form up to 2500m.
The only other runner under $20 is then Jo Jo Girl ($17) draw well in barrier two and out to improve on her ninth in her home town Wagga Wagga Gold Cup over 2000m from the start of the month.
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