The Canterbury Stakes 2016 is the major support act on the Randwick Guineas Day program in Sydney this afternoon, and three-year-old Holler is the big market mover for the sprint classic.
Set to run as Randwick Race 5 at 2:50pm (AEDT), this season’s $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) features a small field of just seven sprinters.
The best supported of those in the current Canterbury Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au smashed by the punters early from $18 right into $8.50 is the John O’Shea-trained Commands colt Holler.
The Godolphin-raced youngster won the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley first-up and was far from disgraced last time out when crossing under three lengths away fifth to Mahuta in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13.
He gets a little break between runs then as he returns to Sydney for the first time since last September and has a strong Randwick record of a win and a third from two previous starts at the track.
Drawn the outside alley (7) in the diminutive field, Holler is the market mover but not the favourite in Canterbury Stakes betting.
Sitting top of the markets at $2.80 is the John Thompson-trained mare First Seal out to continue the gun recent record of female gallopers over the boys in the race.
Four of the past five Canterbury Stakes winners were mares including Cosmic Endeavour (2015) for the race’s most successful trainer Gai Waterhouse last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Four-year-old first Seal comes off a resuming win over Telepathic from February 20 at Rosehill in the Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m), form the bookies are tipping to stack up here.
She has won two and placed second twice from her five previous Randwick assignments and was a dual Group 1 runner-up in Sydney last autumn behind Plucky Belle in the Coolmore Classic (1500M) and Fenway in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
First Seal will improve on whatever she does here as she steps out over more distance into a race suck as the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during ‘The Championships’.
Close second favourite at $3.60, easing out from $2.50, is the seven-year-old veteran of the field Our Boy Malachi.
Despite his age the Top Echelon gelding from the stables of Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes has had only 22 starts to date, 18 of which he has won.
He was ruled out of last spring following his failed 16th to Boban in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) last May, but showed-up first-up on January 20 winning the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) by a runaway three lengths over Solicit.
Our Boy Malachi is undefeated at Randwick where he has won both of his previous starts, the latest being the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) last April, and is two-from-three over the distance this weekend.
It is a wide open Canterbury Stakes market this year with two other single figure hopes in Kermadec ($4.40) drawn the rails in barrier one for jockey Hugh Bowman and Criterion at $9 for his returning run.
Chris Waller trains Doncaster Mile winner Kermadec, the four-year-old Teofilo stallion having also won the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last September.
He hasn’t raced since his second-last (13th) to star stablemate Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) back in October, but back at Randwick where he has an impressive record (5-2-2-0) he is a much better hope.
Criterion is hands-down the class horse in the race and cannot be ruled out, despite this being short of his best.
The Sebring stallion prepared by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig showed off his staying potential in the spring with a Cox Plate second and shock Melbourne Cup third as a $20 hope, but also has winning form over 1100m and loves Randwick (9-2-2-2).
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