Gary Portelli’s returning stallion Rebel Dane has opened the favourite and is firming in betting to take out the Australia Stakes 2016 first-up at Moonee Valley Racecourse this weekend.
Saturday sees the official start of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with the running of the $200,000 Group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) that features a top class field of 13.
The weight-for-age sprint has attracted four individual Group 1 winners plus two promising three-year-olds kicking off their campaigns making for some very exciting Australia Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Currently leading the Australia Stakes odds at $3.30 and on the firm is California Dane six-year-old Rebel Dane who is best known for his Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke stakes win back in 2013.
He left it a long time between wins not taking out another race until last September’s Group 2 The Shorts in Sydney.
That said he finished off his spring campaign with a cracking third behind superstar Chautauqua in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and returns to the track and distance this weekend.
On the back of a nice Randwick trial Rebel Dane is out for his first win at his sixth Moonee Valley start and is drawn a treat in barrier six for jockey Brenton Avdulla.
Outside the punters’ pick it’s a tight Australia Stakes market with six other single figure hopes paying between $7.50 and $9 for the win.
Following Rebel Dane is the flying Durendal ($7.50) drawn one on his inside in barrier five with Damian Lane retaining the ride on this progressive Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Medaglia D’Oro four-year-old.
He continues to rise in class and handle his rivals including winning his Group race debut down the Flemington straight in the Standish Handicap (1200m) on New Year’s Day.
That three-quarter length win over Zupacharged was his sixth from eight starts over a distance he’s yet to finish worse than third over and that he sees again in tougher company this weekend.
Following closely is another returning elite level champ with Phillip Stokes’s 2014 Emirates Stakes winner Hucklebuck ($8) drawn wide with barrier 11 to overcome.
The Elvstroem five-year-old had just the one run last campaign that saw him finish four lengths away 12th to Flamberge in Adelaide’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), but the Morphettville-based Stokes is confident of improvement this time in.
Next best in betting at $8.50 each are the Darren Weir-trained Trust In A Gust in the outside alley for jockey Brad Rawiller to get the better of on the tight circuit and the John O’Shea-trained three-year-old Holler for Godolphin.
Holler was last seen enjoying a runaway Group 3 win at the track and distance on Cox Plate Day last October and jumps from gate eight first-up this weekend with top hoop Craig Williams booked for the ride.
Rounding out the hopes under $10 to take out the year’s opening Group 2 are the defending Australia Stakes winner Mourinho ($9) in barrier two whose last run was a luckless 12th to Winx in the Cox Plate and the other colt in the mix Rageese ($9) for Team Hawkes.
Check out the full Australia Stakes 2016 betting odds below, fixed prices courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au who are rewarding first time depositing players this season with up to $500 in bonus bets with use of the promo code BETBONUS!