Two horses are currently battling for favouritism in the 2015 Bill Ritchie Handicap odds for the opening Group race on the George Main Stakes Day support act at Royal Randwick with Rudy and Sadler’s Lake sharing top spot in the early marketsPhot
Both Helen Page’s Queensland raider Rudy and the Chris Waller-trained local Sydneysider Sadler’s Lake, drawn nicely in barriers three and one respectively, are installed at $3.40 for the Bill Ritchie win this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Kerrin McEvoy has the mount on the Gold Coast-trained Rudy, the Red Dazzler five-year-old third-up this campaign after two thirds firstly at Doomben and then in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at the same track and distance he’s over this weekend.
Rudy was defeated only three-quarters of a length by the winner Hooked in the Tramway with McEvoy aboard from barrier 12 of 14 and will appreciate another run over the 1400m at Randwick on Saturday from a better gate on Saturday.
Sadler’s Lake gets the inside run from gate one for veteran hoop Jim ‘The Pumper’ Cassidy to take if he wants, the High Chaparral four-year-old coming off a win at the track and distance first-up on September 5.
He has a strong Randwick record (4-2-1-0) and was last tested in Group company when crossing a close fourth to Magicool in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m) in Brisbane back in the winter.
Rudy carries 58kg and that gives co-favourite Sadler’s Lake the edge weight wise as he gets in on the 54kg minimum.
There are two other single figure chances in the latest Bill Ritchie Handicap betting markets for the weekend with the 59kg top weight Messene ($6) and market mover Rekindled Power ($6.50) at the other end of the weight scale carrying a full five kilos less with Christian Reith booked for the ride.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Lonhro seven-year-old Messene not only has the big kilos to carry but also has the outside alley on Saturday, Tommy Berry retaining the ride after being in the saddle for the gelding’s flat eighth in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) behind Winx at Rosehill last Saturday.
Paul Messara’s Redoute’s Choice stallion Rekindled Power meanwhile is first-up on the weekend, the four-year-old having run third in both his other resuming runs to date.
He has won just one from seven so far and was last seen crossing 11th in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) in Brisbane back in May, but did trial well at Randwick over 1050m on September 8 when third to Flamboyant Lass.
At double figures but still a genuine hope in the Bill Ritchie this season are the likes of Waller’s other hopeful Heart Testa ($11) in gate two who needs to improve on a Theo Marks 10th last time out and the Anthony Cummings-trained Northern Meteor four-year-old Puzzling Wonder ($15) shooting for back-to-back wins after saluting over 1200m at Wyong earlier in the month.
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