Two of the three Chris Waller-trained stablemates facing off in Saturday’s Winter Challenge 2015 field at Rosehill Racecourse are battling for top spot in the markets.
Waller has prepared the quinella and trifecta respectively in the race over the past two years and, fresh off securing his fifth consecutive Sydney Trainers’ Premiership, is again in with a host of livewire chances of making it three straight victories in the $100,000 Listed The Paslode Winter Challenge (1500m).
Running as Rosehill Race 6 at 3:25pm (AEST) on the Horse’s Birthday meeting, this year’s Winter Challenge field features 10 hopefuls including three for Waller in Rugged Cross, You’ll Never and Eigelstein.
Leading the latest Winter Challenge odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering a Bonus Bet if your first fixed odds win bet runs 2nd or 3rd in the race, is Blake Shinn’s mount You’ll Never.
The Commands gelding, who turns six on Saturday, was ridden closer to the speed last start in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m).
It got the better of him however and he failed to finish better than seventh behind the fellow Waller-trained winner and Winter Challenge rival Rugged Cross.
With instructions to Shinn to let the horse settle further back for the rematch, the bookies are taking no chances on You’ll Never who pays $4.60 to win.
Winter Stakes winner Rugged Cross though is hot on his heels at $4.80 to secure back-to-back black-types at the track.
A known mudlark who boasts three wins and a second from six previous runs on Heavy tracks, Cape Cross gelding Rugged Cross is a rising seven-year-old and had a nose to spare over Two Blue in the Winter Stakes last time out.
The track is set to be a little firmer this weekend, but he also has an impressive Soft track record (7-2-2-2) and has been competitive all preparation including a third in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) at the start of June.
Rugged Cross carried 56kg to victory from barrier one last time out but goes up two kilos to 58kg with Brenton Avdulla retaining the ride from gate two.
Close third favourite at $5 and firming (in from $6) is then Waller’s third chance in the handicap, imported Dubawi gelding Eigelstein.
An eight-year-old come Saturday, Eigelstein has been consistent this preparation with a fourth to Beauty’s Beast two back over the same track and distance as Saturday and then a third to Kenjorwood on July 11 in the Shoot Out Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Eigelstein is drawn in gate eight on the weekend with Glyn Schofield aboard for the first time and gets in well with 54.5kg, which is two kilos less than what he carried for his place last start.
In a super tight market there are three other single figure hopes to win with the Peter Moody-trained Sebring mare Noela’s Choice ($5.50) with the outside alley to overcome as she looks to improve on her 10th from the same barrier in the Winter Stakes, Peter & Paul Snowden’s consistent Redoute’s Choice gelding Great Esteem ($6.50) and the rails drawn Wouldnt It Be Nice ($7) who ran third in the Winter Stakes for Newcastle trainer Paul Perry.
See below for the full Winter Challenge 2015 odds, betting open now at Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll also enjoy up to $500 in bonus bets as a first time depositing player when you quote the code BETBONUS!