Two hopefuls are currently battling for top spot in the Eclipse Stakes 2015 betting markets ahead of the Sandown showdown on Zipping Classic Day with Malice and Worthy Cause the top fancies for the handicap clash.
Set to run as Sandown Race 6 at 4:00pm (AEST) this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Mypunter.com Eclipse Stakes (1800m) features a full field of 16 starters plus two emergency runners needing a scratching to make the line-up.
At the top of the Eclipse Stakes odds paying $5 after easing out from an opening price of $4.60 is the John O’Shea-trained Sydney raider Malice.
Drawn in gate six with in-form hoop James McDonald in the saddle, the Teofilo five-year-old ran fourth to subsequent Emirates Stakes winner Turn Me Loose in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) on Cox Plate Day before his last start second in the Listed Cup Day Plate (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
Yet to race at Sandown Hillside, Malice has had two previous runs over the 1800m for two second place efforts and is set to run another honest race over the distance this weekend.
Hot on his heels in Eclipse Stakes betting is the early market mover Worthy Cause backed in from $7.50 to $6 with the rails run from barrier one.
Prepared by the Sunshine Coast’s John Zielke, the visiting Queensland-trained Choisir four-year-old has had four runs in Melbourne this campaign including a black-type win over 1400m at Flemington when beating home Turn Me Loose on October 4.
His latest run was a fifth in the Crystal Mile with a winning Cranbourne trial from Monday over 1500m sharpening the young stallion up for his run over a distance he has won one-from-one over to date.
There are only two other single figure hopes in the markets with the Robert Smerdon-trained Excites seven-year-old Scream Machine ($8.50) and Casino Dancer ($9) who has a double digit barrier for jockey James Winks to overcome.
Scream Machine has winning form up to 2000m but hasn’t won since June last year in Sydney.
He also has form around Murray Baker’s top New Zealand visitor Turn Me Loose when runner-up in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) on October 18 before a last start fifth in the Cup Day Plate.
Casino Dancer is prepared by Hawkesbury’s Mike Van Gestel, the in-form five-year-old mare coming off some nice lead-up runs including her third to dual Group 1 winner and Hong Kong-bound Lucia Valentina in last weekend’s Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
Outside of the single-figure hopes but still with claims for an upset Eclipse Stakes result on the weekend are the likes of the in-form but widely-drawn Lord Athenaeum ($10), Michael Moroney’s High Chapparal eight-year-old Garud ($12) coming off thirds in both the Seymour Cup and Cup Day Plate, and the first emergency Plot The Course ($13).
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