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Rosehill’s Winter Challenge 2016 is the sole black-type race in Sydney this weekend, betting tips and the latest odds update for the end-of-season showdown detailed below.
Due to run as Rosehill Gardens Race 7 at 3:25pm (AEST) on Saturday, this year’s $150,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) features a small field of 10 starters.
Sitting top of the latest Winter Challenge odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.20 for the win in a tight market is the Kim Waugh-trained Oxford Poet.
Jumping from gate six with Tim Clark retaining the ride, the Dylan Thomas five-year-old comes off his first stakes success in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at the Rosehill track a fortnight back.
He goes up from 54kg that run to 57kg on Saturday, but remains favourite to keep the winning streak going.
Hot on Oxford Poet’s heels in the Winter Challenge betting markets this season at $4.40 and firming is the rails-drawn Zin Zan Eddie.
Jason Collett rides the Matthew Smith-trained Zizou six-year-old who comes off a close second to Oxford Poet when defeated a quarter-length in the Winter Stakes as a 17/1 shot.
He is much shorter for Saturday’s rematch and from three runs over the distance boasts three thirds.
So will the two firm favourites be battling it out for the top two positions in the Winter Challenge again on Saturday or is there value further down the markets in the likes of the Chris Waller-trained Winter Stakes fourth-placegetter Marenostro ($6.50), the returning John O’Shea-trained Alegria ($7) whose last start was a Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) second at Randwick or the Team Hawkes-trained 1500m specialist Himalaya Dream ($8.50) who has won three from four over the 1500m to date?
#6 Marenostro ($6.50)
Marenostro ran fourth when under two lengths off Oxford Poet in the Winter Stakes last time out and can improve getting out over the extra metres here. He has a strong record over the distance (11-5-1-3) and is drawn nicely in gate three with Tye Angland continuing his association. The Duelled gelding goes up from 55kg to 56.5kg on the weekend, but still looks better weighted than the horses that beat him home last start. If he improves, he wins and the softer track will also work to his advantage.
#5 Sacred Master ($14)
Tipping Waller to rule the Sydney races like he’s so good at doing with this Kiwi expat to make an immediate impact down under on way to some tougher spring assignments. The four-year-old is a winner of six of his 13 starts to date and was last seen running third in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) over the two miles back in NZ in March. He’ll improve on whatever he does here the further he gets, but off a good Randwick trial the 1500m first-up isn’t out of reach.
#3 Oxford Poet ($4.20)
The Winter Stakes win was narrow but solid and if Waugh’s galloper can stick in there again with the extra kilos is definitely a winning chance for a second black-type to put on the record. Good lead-up, drawn and Clark is on again but is yet to win over further than 1400m. Soft track suits a tee.
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