The bookmakers are having a hard time splitting the top two in early Let’s Elope Stakes 2016 betting for Saturday after the release of the final field and barriers for the mares’ feature at Flemington Racecourse.
Set to run as Flemington Race 8 at 4:50pm (AEST) as the penultimate event on the Makybe Diva Stakes Day program, this season’s $200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) has attracted an above capacity field.
A full 16 starters plus three emergencies make up the Let’s Elope Stakes field this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and the two heaviest weighted in the set weights plus penalties clash are the ones to beat according to the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Early Let’s Elope Stakes odds have the rails-drawn Don’t Doubt Mamma (58kg) as the $5 market mover sitting just ahead of the 59kg top weight Badawiya at $5.50 for a first-up win.
Dwayne Dunn has the ride on Tony McEvoy’s Not A Single Doubt four-year-old Don’t Doubt Mamma who has an excellent strike rate over the distance (4-3-1-0).
She comes off a close first-up fifth at Caulfield a fortnight ago when beaten only 1.6 lengths by the winner Ocean Embers in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) and will appreciate the extra metres second-up this weekend.
Mick Price has chosen to run his classy Al Maher four-year-old Badawiya earlier than expected this spring with the Group 1 placegetter kicking things off in the Let’s Elope.
Originally she was to be saved for the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 24, but Prices gives last year’s Thousand Guineas third-placegetter the chance on Saturday even under the big kilos.
Badawiya is yet to taste defeat at Flemington (2-2-0-0) or over the distance (2-2-0-0), but fresh she not only gives away the weight but also the fitness edge.
Despite the size of the Let’s Elope Stakes field there are just three other runners under $10 for the win including the Chris Waller-trained French Emotion who occupies the third line of betting at $7.
Waller prepared last year’s Let’s Elope Stakes winner Amicus (2015) and is back with a livewire hope in Snitzel five-year-old French Emotion who is out to atone for her last start sixth behind fellow Saturday rival Catch A Fire.
The other single-figure fancies are Telopea ($8.50) in the outside alley and the aformentioned Catch A Fire ($9) drawn the other end of the field in gate three.
Ace hoop Damien Oliver rides the Darren Weir-trained Telopea from the nasty barrier, the British-bred daughter of Pivotal coming off a run of consistent form.
She won over this track and distance in early July before a brave third first-up when under a length off the winner in the Cockram Stakes with Oliver in the saddle.
Telopea will have taken improvement off that run and will be better suited over 1400m having enjoyed four wins and two seconds from her seven previous starts at the distance.
Catch A Fire meanwhile goes up from 56.5kg last start when winning over 1200m in non-Black Type company at Moonee Valley on August 20 to 58kg this weekend.
The Lindsay Park-trained Sebring four-year-old has the good gate and Damian Lane staying on, but her only previous Flemington run produced a 10th to Badawiya in the Kewney Stakes.
Other notable chances at more generous prices include Cockram Stakes runner-up Thames Court ($11) who shapes up as the value bet of the race and Adelaide raider C’est Beau La Vie ($15) who ran third in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) in May.
Check out the full Let’s Elope Stakes 2016 field, barriers and jockeys below then head to our No. 1 recommended bookie Ladbrokes.com.au for access to the weekend’s best betting odds and offers.