Robert Smerdon’s imported mare Noble Protector is the early favourite in 2015 Let’s Elope Stakes betting for Flemington Racecourse on Makybe Diva Stakes Day this Saturday.
The six-year-old daughter of Haafhd is one of a capacity 16 starters, plus 2 emergency runners, in the mix for this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) that runs as Race 8 at 4:45pm (AEST).
Drawn the rails in barrier one with top hoop Craig Williams booked for the ride, Noble Protector has been racing down under since October last year and is already a dual winner in Melbourne saluting in back-to-back Group races back in March including the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Her last start was in elite level company in Sydney at Randwick in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) where she crossed under two lengths away third to Amanpour on April 11.
She has the strong last campaign form, the inside draw and the top hoop and leads the Let’s Elope Stakes markets at $3.60.
There are just two other runners currently under double figures in the Let’s Elope Stakes odds despite the full field with Cosmic Endeavour ($7) and Vezalay ($9) who scratched out of a race at Rosehill for this assignment.
Drawn nicely in gate five, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Northern Meteor five-year-old Cosmic Endeavour has Kerrin McEvoy retaining the ride after he guided her to a 1.5 length loss when seventh first-up in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) on Memsie Stakes Day.
Before that in the autumn she was fifth past the post in the Queen Of The Turf and has a stellar record of three wins and a second from four runs over Saturday’s distance (1400m).
Vezalay is drawn one on Cosmic Endeavour’s inside in barrier four with Damien Oliver booked for the ride on the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Shamardal four-year-old who ran third to Madam Gangster in the Cockram beaten only half a length.
There’s plenty of value in this year’s Let’s Elope Stakes field and markets with plenty of livewire chances at double figures including three paying $10 for the win with May’s Dream, Amicus and Madam Gangster.
Darren Weir prepares New Approach mare May’s Dream who ran fourth in the Cockram Stakes, the lightly raced five-year-old after her first win since the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) in Adelaide back in April of 2014.
Amicus has a wide gate 13 draw for her and jockey Craig Newitt to overcome this weekend, the Chris Waller-trained Fastnet Rock four-year-old shooting for back-to-back spring wins after a first-up victory at Randwick in the Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m) last month with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Madam Gangster meanwhile beat a number of these home in the Cockram Stakes last time out, Lee & Shannon Hope’s five-year-old daughter of Al Maher having won five of her past six starts going back to November.
Her other Group victory within that time was the Group 3 Tressady Stakes (1400m) over the same track and distance as Saturday’s Let’s Elope.
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