The feature race of the weekend in New South Wales is the Hawkesbury Gold Cup 2016, betting tips for the Saturday showdown found below.
Due to run as Race 7 at 3:35pm (AEST) on the bumper nine-race program, this season’s $200,000 Group 3 Panthers Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) has attracted a capacity field of 16 milers plus four emergencies.
Six of the hopefuls are currently under double figures for the win in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup odds through Ladbrokes.com.au, markets led by the Chris Waller-trained Strawberry Boy ($5) who has a wide draw (14) to overcome.
Kerrin McEvoy rides the Redoute’s Choice seven-year-old who is undefeated at the Hawkesbury track boasting two previous wins at the course.
Strawberry Boy returned with a third over 1400m at Randwick on April 16 and has a strong second-up record to date of three wins, two seconds and a third from nine runs.
His biggest dangers according to the bookies are Group 1 winning stablemate Beaten Up also out wide (16), the Gai Waterhouse-trained Ecuador (6) and early market mover Sons Of John (11) who are all currently at $8 for the win.
So can Strawberry Boy overcome the gate and post his fifth mile success from nine runs or is there value tipping an upset Hawkesbury Gold Cup result from the likes of the favourite’s last start conqueror Mighty Lucky ($9.50) or the rails-drawn Pajaro ($9.50)?
#8 Sons Of John ($8)
Early money is coming for the Jason Attard-trained local hope Sons Of John who shoots for his second win from three starts at Hawkesbury. He defends his Hawkesbury Cup title having won the race last season carrying 54kg by a tidy two and a half-lengths. That led into a strong spring headlined by his third to Winx in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m). He is first-up on Saturday on the back of a good trial win over Ecuador at Warwick Farm on April 15 and has regular rider and last year’s winning hoop Jeff Penza continuing is association. Drawn well in 11, which possibly becomes eight, and gets in on 55.5kg – still a manageable weight for the reigning champ.
#2 Mighty Lucky ($9.50)
Fred Cowell’s Gosford-trained Casino Prince six-year-old is second-up this weekend following his Randwick win a fortnight back in the race Saturday’s top fancy Strawberry Boy ran third in. Yet to win over a mile, Mighty Lucky took out the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) last Boxing Day by a big margin and always performs second-up (6-3-0-1). He drops from 61.5kg last start to 58kg so is still well weighted, carrying one kilo more than Strawberry Boy, and is drawn nicely in gate nine (into seven).
#5 Strawberry Boy ($5)
The favourite has genuine claims and cannot be discounted completely. He has the good record at the track, and while he hasn’t been here for a while, should be improving off his first-up third when only a quarter-length off Mighty Lucky two weeks back. The mile is ideal (8-4-0-1) and could prove hard to hold out getting back up to the 1600m after resuming over 200m shorter.
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