The race’s highest rated and weighted of the three-year-old sprinters accepted for the Danehill Stakes 2016 field at Flemington is also the top fancy in early betting with Defcon rated the one to beat in the Makybe Diva Stakes Day clash.
Running as Flemington Race 5 at 2:50pm (AEST) on Saturday, this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) has attracted a final field of 12 hopefuls.
Wearing the number one saddlecloth and jumping from the inside barrier one draw is the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Choisir colt.
He comes off a good win first-up at Caulfield in the Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) a fortnight back, which was his second Group 3 win after success as a two-year-old in Canberra’s Black Opal Stakes in the autumn.
Defcon carried 58.5kg to victory last time out and has the 58kg top weight for Saturday’s sprint where he sees the famous Flemington straight for the first time.
Despite the kilos and the inexperience at the track, Defcon sits top of the early Danehill Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au carrying $4.40 to remain undefeated this time in.
There are four other single-figure hopes in the current Danehill Stakes betting markets including Highland Beat ($6.50) who is out to turn the tables on Defcon after his second in the McNeil Stakes on August 27.
The Lindsay Park-trained Exceed And Excel colt has now run second in his three most recent runs all at Caulfield in stakes’ company, including in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) to another Snowden runner Russian Revolution two back.
Mark Zahra rides Highland Beat in place of Damian Lane on Saturday from a nice barrier four draw.
Following closely in the markets at $7 is Saracino drawn one on his outside in barrier five with Damien Oliver booked to ride the Kiwi raider.
Prepared at Cambridge by Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, Per Incanto colt Saracino is yet to race down under but has been in strong form at home.
He ran third two back in Group 1 company over 1400m before his resuming win at Te Rapa in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) in mid-August over No More Tears.
He rises from 51.5kg that run to 56.5kg on Saturday for his Australian debut, but is still a livewire hope with improvement to come over the carnival in later runs.
The others under $10 are early market mover Archives ($10 into $7.50) and Samara Dancer ($7.50) drawn in barriers 10 and nine respectively.
Money is coming in for the John O’Shea-trained Archives first-up, the well-bred Helmet colt racing for the first time since his Doomben win on May 21 in the Listed Hampden Stakes (1200m).
He has trialled twice since ahead of his Melbourne debut and has Craig Williams riding this weekend.
Samara Dancer meanwhile is a Phillip Stokes-trained daughter of Hinchinbrook and the only filly taking on the boys in this year’s Danehill Stakes.
She has won two of her three starts to date including the Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m), but was disappointing on February 27 when 14th in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
Saturday is her first run since and she has twice trialled in Adelaide leading up to her return including over 1000m when runner-up to Captain Duffy in a Morphettville hit-out on September 2.
See below for the full Danehill Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and current Fixed Win betting markets provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).