A number of potential VRC Derby hopefuls are engaged to face off in Sunday’s UCI Stakes 2016 field at Flemington Racecourse this Turnbull Stakes Day including visiting Kiwi raider Highlad.
All nine races on the Flemington program on Sunday hold Black-Type status including Race 3 at 1:25pm (AEDT) – the $120,000 Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) for three-year-olds.
The field is set to run at capacity with a full 16 starters and the only scratching so far is the second of four emergencies Betcha Thinking (8).
Highlad for Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman is one of five single-figure fancies in the latest UCI Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $6.50 to win his debut down under.
The High Chaparral colt has won his two career openers back in New Zealand including the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) at the start of September.
Sunday is a distance test for the up-and-comer who steps up notably in metres, co-trainer Baker eying a run for Highlad on October 29 back at the track in the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Baker prepared the 2010 VRC Derby winner Lion Tamer and also has Highlad entered for a Caulfield Cup Day run on October 15 in the $500,000 Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m).
The colt – an $11 chance in futures VRC Derby betting – is drawn wide in barrier 18 (into 14 with the emergencies out) and has top Victorian jockey Damien Oliver booked for the UCI Stakes ride.
The UCI Stakes odds are led by market mover Inference ($3.60) who has won three of his four career starts to date.
The Team Hawkes-trained son of So You Think was last seen saluting by two lengths over 1400m on September 18 at Pakenham, but is also accepted for a Friday night run at Moonee Valley in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m).
Inference is also in the top half of the pre-field Victoria Derby odds paying $13 as is fellow UCI Stakes hopeful Rocketeer.
The Mick Price-trained son of Smart Missile Rocketeer comes off a second to Harlow Gold over the Caulfield mile from a fortnight ago and drops from 58.5kg that run to 56kg on Sunday, Dwayne Dunn booked to replace Oliver in the saddle.
Rocketeer is equal at $6.50 with Highlad to win the UCI Stakes.
The other shortest-priced runner in Sunday’s field at $5 is Throssell drawn well in barrier two with Nicholas Hall riding the Ciaron Maher-trained Captain Sonador gelding.
Throssell won his first two starts in April including the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) and has run third in his two runs this time in.
First-up he was beaten 2.75 lengths by the winner Ken’s Dream in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Last start on September 10 he raced back at Flemington and relished the step up to 1400m in the Listed Exford Place, beaten under a length by Detective (1st) and Tessera (2nd).
He looks to be crying out for the extra metres and on the back of a strong line of form this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, is a big danger over the 1800m trip third-up.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies at $9 is the John O’Shea-trained Group 3 performer Kent who James McDonald rides, while double-figure shots like the undefeated Silvera ($15) and Positive Carry ($17) could have enough upside for an upset.
See below for the full UCI Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and current Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au.