The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained super sprinter Chautauqua is the headline first acceptance taken for the Newmarket Handicap 2016 this week by Racing Victoria.
The $1.25 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) runs at Flemington Racecourse on ‘Super Saturday’, March 12, along with the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) for the weight-for-age staying types.
The Newmarket Handicap originally drew a bumper 70 nominations this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, a number down to just 24 when first declarations closed on Tuesday.
Sitting number one on the Newmarket Handicap ballot and leading all-in betting on the classic through Ladbrokes.com.au is Encosta De Lago five-year-old Chautauqua at $4 after his first-up Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) win on February 20.
Chautauqua has now won four from seven at Flemington, placing second in his three other runs at the track, and the bookies are taking no chances with the $3.88 million earner ahead of the Newmarket.
He ran second to Brazen Beau in last year’s edition beaten nearly three lengths, but atoned next start in Sydney winning Randwick’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) during The Championships.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller took out last autumn’s Newmarket Handicap (Brazen Beau) and this year he still has three chances as he looks down the barrel of back-to-back wins.
Waller’s best chance in futures Newmarket Handicap betting is three-year-old Japonisme ($5).
Three-year-olds boast an outstanding record in the Newmarket having won four of the past eight editions including Brazen Beau (2015) who came off a Black Caviar Lightning second.
Super-consistent Choisir gelding Japonisme scored the upset at Flemington in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) last October as a $21 outsider and returned running a brave third to Chautauqua in the Lightning Stakes beaten only a neck in a blanket finish.
Waller’s other Newmarket Handicap first acceptors are Lighting Stakes fifth placed four-year-old Delectation ($7) who beat home Chautauqua to win the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at the track and distance last Melbourne Cup Carnival and Counterattack ($10).
Redoute’s Choice colt Counterattack was third to his stablemate in the Coolmore Stud Stakes last time in and returned against his own kind in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 6 running third to Spill The Beans.
After Waller’s dominant duo the next best in pre-field Newmarket Handicap betting include the Joe Pride-trained Terravista ($6) and the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Keen Array ($8).
Captain Rio six-year-old Terravista was third past the post in last autumn’s Newmarket Handicap and in the spring’s Darley Classic before returning with a devastatingly close second in the Lightning Stakes after his hoop Damien Oliver dropped and then regained the whip, but lost the momentum to win.
Pride has also kept his Dubawi eight-year-old Tiger Tees in the mix, the warhorse fourth in Sydney’s Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) last time out and not seen in the winners’ stall since August of 2014.
Keen Array meanwhile has won four of his eight career starts to date, the Bel Esprit three-year-old’s last start back on Victoria Derby Day when third in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
See below for the complete line-up of Newmarket Handicap 2016 first acceptances, then head to Ladbrokes.com.au for access to the best all-in Group 1 autumn racing odds and promos!
2016 Newmarket Handicap First Declarations
Flemington Racecourse – 12/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||15x163x||BASSETT (NZ)||G||3||Peter G Moody||75|
|2||40x111492x||BLACK HEART BART||G||5||Darren Weir||106|
|3||31111541×9||CHARMED HARMONY||G||6||John Sadler||105|
|4||213x1112x1||CHAUTAUQUA||G||5||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||–|
|5||x211575432||CHURCHILL DANCER||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||103|
|8||23x815x13x||DOTHRAKI||G||5||Peter & Paul Snowden||–|
|9||215x5311x6||ECLAIR CHOICE||G||4||Phillip Stokes||105|
|10||2301x2617x||FLAMBERGE||G||6||Peter G Moody||109|
|11||326x73082x||GREGERS||M||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||103|
|13||40x112112x||KEEN ARRAY||G||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||96|
|14||0x11600x||KENTUCKY FLYER||C||3||Robbie Laing||69|
|15||21x16x||KINGLIKE||C||3||Peter G Moody||89|
|17||127x2600x3||RICH ENUFF||H||4||Peter & Paul Snowden||102|
|18||229x15450x||SCISSOR KICK||H||4||Paul Messara||104|
|19||1x0x1221x||SECRET AGENDA||F||3||Mick Price||88|
|22||166x7621x3||THE QUARTERBACK||G||5||Robbie Griffiths||98|
|23||2x80x568x4||TIGER TEES (NZ)||G||8||Joseph Pride||106|
|24||538x13641x||VEZALAY||M||4||Leon & Troy Corstens||96|