In-form Sydney hoop Brenton Avdulla has been working hard to drop the kilos in order to continue his association with 2016 Doncaster Mile light-weight Happy Clapper at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The headliner of four elite level events on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’, this year’s $3 million Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) features a final field of 15 gallopers.
The field and Doncaster Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are dominated by Chris Waller’s five-time Group 1 winning mare Winx who is odds-on at $1.85 and set to jump the shortest-priced favourite in nearly a century.
Winx carries 56.5kg from barrier 11 with Hugh Bowman aboard and is definitely the horse to beat.
The Patrick Webster-trained Happy Clapper though does get a notable weight advantage over the Street Cry four-year-old getting in on just 50.5kg.
It’s a weight Avdulla has had to work to get down to, but the New South Wales Jockey Premiership leading hoop believes it will be worth it on race day.
“The weight’s going well, I’ve got someone living with me at the moment cooking all my meals and I’m training pretty hard – morning and night sessions – and then I’m riding in between so I’m staying fit,” he told Racenet.
“I’m feeling pretty good and I’m looking forward to it. I think my horse is a great chance even though Winx will be hard to beat.”
This time last year Avdulla had just three rides on a 10-race Doncaster Mile Day card, and went without a Group 1 start.
Now he’s booked for all four Group 1 races and is leading the NSW Premiership by 10 wins to date, which he hopes to add to on the weekend.
Avdulla has had five previous rides in the Doncaster Mile without a top three finish.
This Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival his mount Happy Clapper is paying $12 in the Doncaster Mile odds to change that, the smart Teofilo five-year-old drawn in gate eight, which hasn’t produced a winner since Pharaoh for his first in 1994.
A three-time winner from five starts at Randwick, the gelding also has a top record over the distance of two wins and a third from three 1600m runs.
He has had two runs since when a first-up fourth to Holler in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) before a fifth to Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 19.
Happy Clapper was a $31 outsider in betting for the weight-for-age George Ryder and on the weekend drops from 59kg down 8.5kg and should be flying with the weight.
The other big name Doncaster Mile hopefuls this season are Waller’s reigning champion Kermadec ($7.50) in gate three coming off a George Ryder second to his star stablemate and Ciaron Maher’s in-form mare Azkadellia ($11) in her Randwick debut on the back of a Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) second at Rosehill.
To back your Doncaster selections and access the weekend’s premier racing odds make sure you’ve got an account open and ready to go at Ladbrokes.com.au!