Robert Hickmott’s Group 1 winner The United States is tipped as the one to beat in the Crystal Mile 2016 field this Saturday on Cox Plate Day leading early betting on the weight-for-age showdown.
Twelve months ago at the same meeting the imported Galileo stallion won the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) defeating subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance.
He has won once since taking out the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in Sydney during the autumn, a race subsequent Epsom Handicap winner and Cox Plate 2016 runner on Saturday Hauraki ran second in.
This time in The United States has had the one run when sixth to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley, a track and distance he returns to second-up this weekend.
Running as Moonee Valley Race 7 at 3:35pm (AEDT), Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) has drawn a final field of just nine runners.
Heading the field and the current Crystal Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.30 for the win after coming up trumps with barrier two is the now seven-year-old The United States.
Kerrin McEvoy comes aboard for the ride back in the saddle of the horse he rode to victory in the Ranvet Stakes as well as the second behind Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’.
In an open market a further five of the Crystal Mile runners are also under $10 for the win including He Or She ($4.60) shooting for a fourth top three finish on the trot.
Lindsay Park train the in-form Kendal Star six-year-old who comes off a trio of Group 1 placings and who will relish the easier assignment on Saturday.
He finished third in the Makybe Diva Stakes, second in the Underwood Stakes and was last seen running third to super mare Winx in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) as a $21 shot on October 8.
Saturday sees He Or She drop back to a mile for the first time since the Makybe Diva Stakes on September 10, a distance he has plenty of form over (6-3-0-1).
Occupying the third line of Crystal Mile betting this Cox Plate Carnival is Federal ($6) who is also a perennial placegetter having run second or third in his four latest starts.
Drawn gate five with Sydney’s best James McDonald booked to ride, the John O’Shea-trained Medalia D’Oro five-year-old was last seen running third at Flemington in Black-Type company over 1400m.
He is out over a mile for the first time here and also sees Moonee Valley for the first time, also needing to handle the weight-for-age conditions.
At an equal $6.50 are then the rails-drawn Ulmann who won the race Federal graduates from last start and early market mover Stratum Star in gate three.
From the Melbourne Cup winning stables of Darren Weir, Sebring gelding Ulmann took out the Listed Headquarters Stakes (1400m) on Turnbull Stakes Day.
He gets up to a mile for the first time since his second to Winx in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) in May of 2015, but looks ready to handle the extra metres.
Group 1 winner Stratum Star also represents Weir, the Stratum stallion on the quick back-up following his brave fifth to stablemate Voodoo Lad in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day last Saturday.
He has strong place form over 1600m (6-0-2-3) and sees the metres for the first time this prep after his sixth to Winx in Sydney’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile during the autumn.
See below for the full Crystal Mile 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and current betting odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Enhanced Odds (T&Cs apply).