The opening Group race on Randwick’s Apollo Stakes Day card in Sydney on Saturday is the Southern Cross Stakes 2016 where Rich Enuff is the early favourite and market mover.
A final field of nine sprinters is engaged for this year’s $150,000 Group 3 DX Solutions Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) including the returning Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Rich Enuff in barrier four with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.
The Written Tycoon four-year-old hasn’t raced since his dead last when 10th to Chautauqua in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, but trialled nicely with a Randwick hit-out win on January 29 ahead of his first-up run.
The stallion hasn’t won under race conditions since his Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) success in September of 2014 that led into his biggest run to date, a second to Shooting To Win in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Despite his recent hit and miss form, the galloper sits top of the Southern Cross Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at a firming $3.60 (in from $3.80).
Hot on his heels at $3.70 is the former favourite in the markets, Generalife (out from $3.50) jumping from a nice barrier two draw with in-form Sydney jockey James McDonald aboard the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro six-year-old.
A dual Group 1 third placegetter in Queensland last winter, Generalife is yet to win at the track from four starts but has class on his day.
The other best fancied in Southern Cross Stakes betting are Ron Quinton’s last start Summer Sprint winner over 1000m at the track Boss Lane ($5.50), the Rodney Northam-trained Expressway Stakes third placegetter Big Money ($6.50) and O’Shea’s other runner Vashka ($7) all battling for positions in a tight market.
So can the favourite return to form with a first-up win or is there value tipping an upset Southern Cross Stakes result this season with Joe Pride’s Group 1 winner Tiger Tees ($12) also in the mix?
#6 Boss Lane ($5.50)
Dubawi five-year-old Boss Lane shoots for his sixth win from 15 starts at the Randwick track and is at a good price to do so. He’s a three-time winner over the track and distance and steps up from his easy two length win over 1000m here in mid-January where he still looked to have plenty in the tank. Is racing very well this time in and has form around good company so ticks plenty of boxes in an open race.
#3 Vashka ($7)
Excited about the return of this Godolphin-raced Exceed And Excel gelding who is looking to kick off right where he left off, in winning form. Last spring he won the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill and the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in a back-to-back interstate double, and he thrived on a Heavy Rosehill track in a January hit-out. Goes well fresh (5-1-2-1) and if he comes back in good order can run top three without a worry.
#4 Big Money ($6.50)
Big Money will get a gun run from barrier three and should be ready to fire third-up after the six-year-old’s two good thirds in Sydney last month. His latest was behind Our Boy Malachi, who nothing was going to catch, in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill and that form can stack up here.
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