Unsurprisingly Peter & Paul Snowden’s returning Golden Slipper winner Capitalist has opened odds-on favourite to kick off his three-year-old season with a win in the Missile Stakes 2016 on the weekend.
A diminutive field of just seven sprinters face off in this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Mark Moran Missile Stakes (1200m), the weight-for-age Sydney clash to run as Randwick Race 5 at 2:10pm (AEST) on Saturday.
Sitting top of the Missile Stakes odds at a firm price of $1.50 through Ladbrokes.com.au is Written Tycoon colt Capitalist having his first run since success in Rosehill’s Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m).
As a juvenile last season he won all but one of his five starts, but faces a different test on Saturday taking on the older more experienced WFA performers in the Missile Stakes.
The last three-year-old to line-up in the race was Dance Hero (2005) who took out the event 11 years ago and Capitalist, who comes off back-to-back Randwick trial wins in July, is well-fancied to do the same.
He gets the weight advantage carrying only 51.5kg with Kerrin McEvoy aboard in the place of Blake Shinn who will reunite with the star youngster on September 10 in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
The other thing aside from lack of weight-for-age experience that could work against the shortie in Missile Stakes betting this year is the current Heavy (10) Randwick track.
Capitalist is yet to race on anything other than a Good rated course, so how he handles the wet will also be key to him winning first-up for the punters.
Just one of his six rivals is also under $10 in the latest odds with Gary Portelli’s market mover Rebel Dane backed in early from $4.20 to $3.80.
Tommy Berry is booked to ride the California Dane seven-year-old from barrier two, Rebel Dane proven on both Soft (8-3-0-0) and Heavy (2-0-2-0) going.
He is also a first-up specialist with four wins, a second and two thirds from his eight resuming runs to date.
Last time he kicked off a campaign Rebel Dane was third to Holler in January’s Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, while last September he took out the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) first-up at Randwick.
He also contested the 2014 Missile Stakes when only a quarter-length away third to Sweet Idea in that spring’s returning run, so the form is very good heading into the clash with Capitalist.
This is Rebel Dane’s first run since a brave fourth to English in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at the track in mid-April as a $31 roughie and he won’t be found at anything like that price here.
The other major players according to the bookies are the rails-drawn Big Money ($10) and Generalife ($11), both also seven-year-olds looking to play the age card over Saturday’s young favourite.
Rodney Northam prepares Choisir gelding big Money who has a strong record over the distance (11-4-2-1) including his last start second when a nose off Hong Kong import Smart Volatility in Grafton’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m).
Generalife meanwhile represents the Godolphin stable, the John O’Shea-trained son of Lonhro after his first win from seven starts at Randwick.
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