Two Group 3 races headline the Caulfield card in Melbourne on Saturday including the Easter Cup 2016, betting tips and the latest odds on the staying handicap found below.
Set to run at 4:50pm (AEDT) as Caulfield Race 8, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Le Pines Funerals Easter Cup (2000m) originally attracted 13 final acceptances.
The field is down to a dozen after the early scratching of the Tasmanian raider Gladstone (8), with Easter Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au firmly led by Group 1 placegetter Awesome Rock ($3.10).
The Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Fastnet Rock four-year-old was first past the post in an upset at $21 over Preferment in Flemington’s Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) a fortnight back.
The stallion lost the elite level title on protest however, so is out to atone in easier company on the weekend over the same distance at a track he has four top three runs at from six starts but no wins.
Following Awesome Rock in Easter Cup betting this season are four other single figure hopes including Darren Weir’s rising eight-year-old French import Lidari ($5) and stablemate Puccini ($7) drawn in barriers four and two respectively.
So can Awesome Rock win this race in a consolation for the Group 1 protest loss last time out or is there an upset Easter Cup result on the agenda from the likes of the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained evergreen nine-year-old Extra Zero ($8) or the early market mover Guardini ($8) who scratched out of a Rosehill Group 3 race in favour of a Melbourne run?
#1 Awesome Rock ($3.10)
Awesome Rock was very strong to win the Australian Cup in elite level company last start before losing the 2000m Flemington feature in the stewards’ room. He should be too strong for these rivals then dropping back to Group 3 company over the same distance at a track he’s got a solid place record at. His last run here was a Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) fourth to Bow Creek, and the extra metres suit here.
#3 Lidari ($5)
This Acclamation stallion is drawn a treat in barrier four with Brad Rawiller retaining the ride. He knows the horse well and was aboard at Morphettville last time out on March 14 for the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1600m) second when beaten a nostril flare carrying 61kg. Back in Melbourne, back to 58.5kg and up in distance are all ticks for this horse with winning form up to 2400m who is the big danger.
#6 Puccini ($7)
This New Zealand expat has been racing down under since the autumn last year but is yet to post a win in Australia. He is a dual Group 1 winner back in NZ, but hasn’t been able to uncover that same form in Oz. Two back he was third to Red Bomber in Group 3 class at Flemington, before things went amiss when 10th in the Ajax Stakes at Rosehill. If he bounces back he’ll get a lovely run from barrier two and is good enough to run top three.
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