The feature race at Hawkesbury Racecourse on Saturday is the Hawkesbury Gold Cup 2016 where the Chris Waller-trained Strawberry Boy is early favourite to win the mile showdown.
Three Group 3 events highlight the program including Race 7 at 3:35pm (AEST) – the $200,000 Group 3 Panthers Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) that has attracted a capacity field of 16 starters plus four emergencies.
Sitting top of the Hawkesbury Gold Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $5 for the win is rising eight-year-old Redoute’s Choice gelding Strawberry Boy for Waller.
Sydney’s premier trainer, Waller has a stranglehold on the Hawkesbury Gold Cup this year numbers-wise with six runners including the current top fancy.
Drawn wide in barrier 14, possibly into 11, Strawberry Boy is second-up on the weekend with Kerrin McEvoy set to ride on 57kg.
The galloper is two-from-two at the Hawkesbury track where he returns for the first time since November 2014.
Strawberry Boy hasn’t won a race since June last year at Doomben, but has run well in good company since including his Gold Coast Magic Millions Cup second in January and his last start third at Randwick carrying 60kg beaten only a quarter-length by Mighty Lucky over 1400m on April 16.
Five other runners are also under $10 in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup odds including the $8 second fancy Ecuador in gate six with Tim Clark aboard.
Gai Waterhouse prepares the High Chaparral six-year-old who is out to break a year-long winning drought and atone for his last start 11th to super mare Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 2.
Ecuador has since trialled nicely at Warwick Farm over 1200m and carries 56kg on the weekend.
Two $8.50 hopes follow with Waller’s former Doomben Cup (2013) winner Beaten Up drawn wide (16) for jockey Glyn Schofield and early market mover Sons Of John first-up for local horseman Jason Attard.
A five-year-old son of Oratorio, Sons Of John was third to Winx in last year’s Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) but was unplaced in two subsequent Melbourne runs in the spring.
He defends his Hawkesbury Gold Cup title having won the race by a runaway two and a half lengths last year when it ran in early June.
Last year Sons Of John carried 54kg to victory with Jeff Penza in the saddle, the reigning champion well weighted on 55.5kg this season with the same hoop booked for the ride.
Rounding out the single figure fancies are then the rails-drawn Pajaro ($9) for Peter & Paul Snowden and the aforementioned Mighty Lucky ($9.50) who has winning form over Saturday’s favourite Strawberry Boy.
The second heaviest weighted horse in the field with 58kg, Mighty Lucky is prepared by Fred Cowell at Gosford, the Casino Prince six-year-old shooting for three wins from as many starts.
On Boxing Day at Randwick he enjoyed a tidy win in the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) before winning over 1400m at the same track first-up on April 16.
At more generous odds but still with genuine claims are the Waller-trained Amovatio in the second widest barrier and stablemate Tales Of Grimm in gate three as he looks to go one better than his Hawkesbury Gold Cup second last winter.
See below for the current Hawkesbury Gold Cup 2016 betting odds, prices punters can lock in online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost!