Despite a wide barrier draw for the sole stakes race in Adelaide this Saturday the Mick Huxtable-trained Lord Aspen has opened clear favourite to take out Morphettville’s City Of Marion Stakes 2015.
The Murray Bridge-based Good Journey four-year-old is only lightly raced having his ninth career start on the weekend in the $100,000 Quayclean City Of Marion Stakes (1200m).
Due to run as Morphettville Race 7 at 4:47pm (SA time), this year’s handicap sprint originally attracted a final field of 16 but is down to 15 runners after the early scratching of the widely-drawn Alabama Missile (15).
Out even wider with the outside alley is Huxtable’s super-consistent youngster Lord Aspen who shots for his sixth career win in the black-type.
His lead-up form has been strong including a third behind Worthy Cause at Flemington in October in the Listed Headquarters Stakes (1400m) in Melbourne.
He went into the Listed Murray Bridge Cup (1600m) the next run up over a mile and was far from disgraced crossing fourth to Excites Zelady.
Lord Aspen looks a much stronger chance back at Morphettville Racecourse on the weekend where he has won both of his previous starts.
He is also a dual winner from two runs over the 1200m that he should relish dropping back to for the City Of Marion Stakes that he currently pays $3.20 to win through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Three other runners are also under double figures in the latest City Of Marion Stakes betting markets including the $6 second pick Countryman.
Jason Holder is booked to take over for Damien Oliver aboard the now Phillip Stokes-trained Royal Academy gelding who comes off form in Sydney and Melbourne.
Yet to race at the track, Countryman was last seen running 11th in the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day but is rated a livewire hope of improving on that here in his first South Australian run.
The next best fancied are then Karacatis ($6.50) and Baligari ($8) drawn in barriers five and 11 respectively.
Richard Jolly prepares Hussonet seven-year-old Karacatis who has his 21st Morphettville run on Saturday shooting for his fifth win at the track.
He won at Morphettville Parks over 1000m last time out on November 21 with 59kg on his back and drops a kilo to 58kg on the weekend.
Baligari meanwhile gets in on the 54kg minimum with Todd Pannell aboard Lloyd Kennewell’s Purrealist gelding.
The five-year-old is second-up and has a strong record two runs into a campaign (4-1-2-1) after a third first-up to Saturday rival Karacatis a fortnight ago when beaten under two lengths.
At double figures but still with claims for an upset in the Adelaide feature this weekend include the likes of the equal 59kg top weight Essay Raider ($11) and the early market mover Silent Whisper backed in notably from $18 to $13.
The Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained local Bernardini six-year-old Essay Raider has his first run since early April when unplaced over 1100m at Oakbank.
He has been out of action for a while but boasts a good record at Morphettville of five wins and four seconds from 16 starts and is one of the class horses in the line-up.
Silent Whisper, who is at the opposite end of the weight scale on 54kg, is the second of three Kennewell-trained hopes in the race and comes off a first-up fifth to Karacatis in a lead-up race the bookmakers are obviously rating the form of.
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