Chris Waller’s Group 2 winning mare Tsaritsa is early favourite in Bill Ritchie Handicap 2016 betting following the release of the final field and odds for this Saturday’s showdown at Royal Randwick.
Set to run as Randwick Race 8 at 4:35pm (AEST) as the penultimate event on George Main Stakes Day, this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) has drawn a final field of 12 hopefuls.
Offering a ballot exemption to the winner into the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) back at the track on October 1, the Bill Ritchie Stakes markets are led this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival by Tsaritsa at $4.40 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Drawn in barrier two, Waller’s four-year-old daughter of Dane Shadow will need to work to stay out of traffic early and comes off a first-up third over the track / distance in a Benchmark 92 on September 3.
Tsaritsa carried 59kg that day and drops notably back to the 54kg minimum in the Bill Ritchie as she chases her first win since taking out Brisbane’s Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) over the mile as a three-year-old in the winter.
Close second favourite in early Bill Ritchie Handicap betting at $4.80 is the 59kg top weight Happy Clapper drawn in barrier six with Brenton Avdulla booked for the ride.
Patrick Webster saddles-up the Teofilo six-year-old second-up off a first-up fifth behind Hauraki in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick a fortnight back.
Happy Clapper has a strong record two runs in (4-2-1-0) and is a three-time winner from eight runs at Randwick.
In the autumn he was twice placed at the course in Group 1 company when second to Winx in the Doncaster Mile and third to Lucia Valentina in the Queen Elizabeth, but gives the weight away on Saturday.
Drawn the rails is the $6.50 third favourite Federal who Craig Williams will ride from barrier one following the John O’Shea-trained galloper’s first-up second in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) here two weeks ago.
Federal has had four runs at Randwick for two wins and that second, and will be improving over the extra metres second-up boasting a strong record over the 1400m (6-3-2-1).
Along with the favourite Waller meanwhile has a further three other runners in the Bill Ritchie Handicap this season including Torgersen who is the last of the single figure hopes at $9.
Drawn in barrier seven, the four-year-old Pins stallion runs in Group class for the first time since his third here in mid-April behind He’s Our Rokkii in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m).
He has been progressing nicely in easier class this campaign including a last start second to Burning Passion in the same lead-up as stablemate Tsaritsa (3rd).
Waller has also accepted for the reigning Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Sadler’s Lake ($11) who chases his first win since and Lady Le Fay ($21) drawn the outside barriers 12 and 11 respectively.
The other notable hopes include the Jason Attard-trained Sons Of John ($11), O’Shea’s other runner Handfast ($12) and the returning Lord Mayor’s Cup winner in Brisbane from late May Mighty Lucky ($13).
Check out the full Bill Ritchie Handicap 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below along with the current Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the weekend’s best George Main Stakes promotion.