Gai Waterhouse’s in-form sprinter – miler Frespanol has opened top of the 2015 Festival Stakes odds for the feature race in Sydney at Rosehill Racecourse this weekend.
A final field of 15 is engaged to face off in Rosehill Race 8 at 5:05pm (AEST) on Saturday when the $150,000 Listed Sky Thoroughbred Central Festival Stakes (1500m) lights up the track.
Waterhouse saddles-up two hopes in the handicap clash including the early $4.60 favourite in the latest Festival Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, five-year-old Choisir gelding Frespanol.
A winner at Randwick two back over 1600m in late October, the galloper comes off a last start second to Zanbagh at the track carrying 58.5kg in the November Handicap (1350m) a fortnight ago.
This weekend in the rematch Frespanol jumps from barrier seven with Thomas Huet retaining the ride dropping two kilos to 56.5kg as he shoots for his second win from eight Rosehill runs.
Waterhouse’s other Festival Stakes hope on the weekend is the returning Pheidon out in gate 10 with Joshua Parr aboard the $31 outsider.
Group 1 performed and a Group 2 winner back in March of last year in Melbourne, Al Maher five-year-old Pheidon is one-from-one over Saturday’s 1500m distance and was last seen running ninth to Ecuador over 1800m at Rosehill in late May.
Four other runners are also under double figures in the current Festival Stakes betting markets including $5.50 second elect It’s Somewhat for Godolphin’s John O’Shea who jumps from gate four with James McDonald aboard.
The Dynaformer gelding has his first start since a mid-field finish behind Hooked in the Group 2 Tramway Handicap (1400m) back in early September and has won two from four first-up so far.
Shooting for his maiden win since the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm in late February, It’s Somewhat carries the 59kg second top weight so gives away the kilos for his returning run.
The next best in betting at an equal quote of $8.50 are the rails-drawn Ninth Legion and Tinto in the far outside alley (15).
Christian Reith rides the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Fastnet Rock six-year-old Ninth Legion who ran fourth a fortnight ago beaten only 1.4 lengths by Charmed Harmony in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m).
He had 58.5kg on his back that day and so goes up a half-kilo for his 13th Rosehill start, a track he hasn’t seen since September 26 when sixth to Vashka in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Rex Lipp prepares Queensland raider Tinto, the Toowoomba-trained Red Dazzler mare coming off a seventh to Steel Zip at Doomben in the Listed Keith Noud Handicap (1200m) from November 14.
Her last win was at the Gold Coast in the Magic Millions Stayers Cup over 1800m in January and she is down from 58.5kg last time out to a 57.5kg this weekend, Tim Clark aboard the five-year-old who has winning form up to a mile and a half.
Rounding out the single figure fancies at $13 is another widely-drawn galloper, Nevagotavote in 13.
Jason Deamer trains the Newcastle-trained Nothin’ Leica Dane six-year-old who has won two of his past three starts including over the Randwick mile in October and his last start success over the 1550m at Canterbury from November 7.
This is the 18-start runner’s maiden stakes’ assignment and the bookies rate him a good chance of success getting in on the 54kg minimum.
The early Festival Stakes market mover in from $12 to $11 meanwhile is Centre Pivot, Glyn Schofield booked to ride the John Sargent-trained More Than Ready gelding whose lead-up run was a sixth in the November Handicap.
Before that in August he won back-to-back Rosehill races over 1400m and 1500m respectively and with an excellent second-up record (3-2-1-0) and four wins from seven Rosehill runs is tipped to return to form on Saturday.
See below for the current Festival Stakes 2015 betting odds before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au for access to all the summer’s premier markets and offers!