The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained sprint specialist Chautauqua is odds-on in Darley Classic 2015 betting for Saturday’s Group 1 at Flemington Racecourse on Emirates Stakes Day.
Two elite levels run on the final Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting this weekend including a 10-horse field for Flemington Race 6 at 3:40pm (AEST) – the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
The season’s hottest sprinters face off in this weight-for-age feature that has attracted just half of its capacity 20-starter field in the smallest line-up in four years.
Team Hawkes’ flying Encosta De Lago five-year-old Chautauqua looks to have frightened off a number of potential rivals as he looks to improve on his second in the race last year.
He has won the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last start in the meantime and from barrier four with Dwayne Dunn aboard looks hard to beat this weekend.
Barrier four last produced a winner with the mighty Black Caviar scoring her second from the gate in 2011, the ace mare also the last favourite to salute for the punters in the Darley Classic.
Chautauqua currently pays a very short $1.55 in Darley Classic betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, but can be had at a better price pre-jump on the day with Ladbrokes offering Best Tote or SP + 20% across the full Flemington card on Saturday.
There are two other single figure hopes in the Darley Classic odds with the rails-drawn defending champion Terravista ($8) looking to emulate Black Caviar (2010-11) in going back-to-back and classy mare Srikandi ($8.50) jumping one wider in barrier two.
Last year Terravista came off a Manikato Stakes fifth, jumped from barrier six and beat home Chautauqua in the Darley Classic.
Twelve months on the Joe Pride-trained Captain Rio six-year-old is out to improve on a Manikato seventh getting the gun run from barrier one with last year’s winning hoop Hugh Bowman back in the saddle.
Srikandi meanwhile is looking to be the first Darley Classic winner from barrier two since Takeover Target (2004), Kerrin McEvoy aboard Ciaron Maher’s $2.35 million earner.
The five-year-old daughter of Dubawi won back-to-back Group 1s in Queensland during the winter before returning to run an eye-catching second first-up in the Manikato Stakes that has produced the past three straight Darley Classic winners.
The next best in betting at slightly longer odds for the Darley Classic upset are Lumosty ($13) who is also accepted to run in the Group 3 GH Mumm Stakes (1100m) on Thursday’s Crown Oaks Day line-up and Boban ($15) coming out of the star Chris Waller stables in Sydney.
Robert Smerdon’s Fastnet Rock four-year-old Lumosty was last seen winning the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) first-up in her first run since the third to Srikandi in the Gold Coast’s Tattersall’s Tiara, while Boban was last seen crossing fourth to Fawkner beaten only a half-length in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over the Flemington mile on September 12.
He has had seven previous runs over the shorter 1200m, but is yet to finish top three so looks a big risk dropping back in distance.
See below for the full Darley Classic 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au who will match your first deposit 100% up to $700 when you deposit and quote the code SPRINGBONUS this season!