One of the major support acts on the Randwick Guineas Day card in Sydney this afternoon is the lucrative weight-for-age Challenge Stakes 2016, betting tips for the sprint feature found below.
Due to run as Randwick Race 8 at 4:50pm (AEDT) as the penultimate event on the card, this year’s $500,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) originally attracted a final field of 11.
There are 10 remaining runners vying for the $300,000 first prize for connections however after the early scratching of the Jason Coyle-trained Va Pensiero who drew the outside alley in the short-distanced clash.
Leading the latest Challenge Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying a firmly $3.70 (in from $4.50) to win first-up is the Gai Waterhouse-trained English.
The lightly-raced Encosta De Lago filly has had just four starts to date for two wins, including the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) last Randwick Guineas Day.
She is also a dual Group 1 performer having run a brave second to Vancouver beaten under a length in the Golden Slipper Stakes last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and sixth last time out to Pride Of Dubai in the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m.
English looked ultra-sharp in her recent Randwick trial wins including a victory over boom colt Capitalist on February 19 and should be right in the finish if not saluting for the punters.
So can the favourite filly beat home her rivals or is there an upset Challenge Stakes result on the agenda from the likes of the rails-drawn Ball Of Muscle ($4.80) who is yet to finish out of the money in his 17 career starts to date or the market mover Speak Fondly ($9 into $5) who is the other Waterhouse-trained filly in the mix.
#1 Ball Of Muscle ($4.80)
The favourite definitely has claims but it is hard to go past the ultra-consistent Joe Pride-trained five-year-old Ball Of Muscle whose career record says it all (17-8-6-3). He is yet to run out of the top three and that won’t change here at a track he loves (4-2-1-1) over a distance he flies over (6-2-2-2). His last victory was in Brisbane’s Group 2 QTC Cup (1200m) and his last start was on Caulfield Guineas Day over this distance in Melbourne. He was Group 1 placed behind Buffering over the 1000m at Moonee Valley before that and will be flying first-up (5-2-2-1) on the back of a winning Warwick Farm barrier trial.
#10 English ($3.70)
This highly-spruiked filly was one of last autumn’s gun two-year-olds and her recent flying trials suggest she has come back in exactly the same sort of form. She beat Golden Slipper fancy Capitalist home in her latest hit-out and while it has nearly been 12 months between runs, this three-year-old has class and form and is proven at Randwick. Tommy Berry rides last year’s Golden Slipper runner-up and she’ll be right up there challenging for the win.
#9 Speak Fondly ($5)
Waterhouse’s other runner is fellow three-year-old filly Speak Fondly, this daughter of Northern Meteor last seen winning the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in the Spring. The 1000m is short of her preferred so she will only improve off what she does here, but she won a 837m barrier trial at Randwick late last month and loves the course (4-3-0-1) wher4e she also won the Group 2 Silver Shadow – Furious Stakes double last time in.
Whether you’re backing or sacking our 2016 Challenge Stakes betting selections, make sure you get the hottest odds on all the runners in every Randwick Guineas Day race online at Ladbrokes.com.au!