Irish Constabulary drawn the rails for the Doomben black-type on Saturday is narrowly holding off two other top fancies in the Ascot Handicap 2017 field and betting markets in Brisbane.
A dozen sprinters make up the field for Doomben Race 5 at 2:28pm (AEST) on the weekend, with Irish Constabulary to jump from barrier one in the $100,000 Listed Mandate Ascot Handicap (1200m).
Jeff Lloyd is booked to ride the John Symons & Shelia Laxon-trained veteran eight-year-old who is first-up and back to racing after an autumn break.
A winner of two of his three January runs during the summer, Irish Constabulary was last seen finishing third when under a length beaten at the Sunshine Coast.
He has a stellar record at the Doomben track with two wins and a third from three starts, and looks very well-weighted getting in on the 54kg minimum.
Irish Constabulary pays $4.80 in the latest Ascot Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, but two runners are hot on his heels with early market mover In His Stride ($5) and Sweet Serendipity ($5.50).
Toowoomba trainer Rex Lipp has Group 1 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival ambitions with Rothesay four-year-old In His Stride who could be set for the Doomben 10,000 (1200m) in mid-May.
The progressive gelding was runner-up in a million dollar Gold Coast Magic Millions race over 1300m behind Madotti in mid-January before a third to Sir Moments in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m).
His latest run back home at Toowoomba a fortnight ago produced a close second over 1100m where he did his best work late, suggesting the step back up to 1200m here will work in his favour.
Sweet Serendipity is a Jason Coyle-trained Excites six-year-old who has also been racing well in the autumn in Sydney.
A winner over the 1200m on a Heavy (10) Warwick Farm track, his latest run produced a devastatingly close second at Randwick over the same metres he returns to in Brisbane on Saturday.
Kathy O’Hara retains the ride from a nice barrier four draw and Sweet Serendipity is sure to appreciate the drop back from 56.5kg last start to 54kg on Saturday.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies at $7 is the 59kg top weight Into The Red who the bookies remain wary of despite the Kelso Wood & Patricia Gesler-trained gelding giving away the kilos.
Six-year-old Into The Red hasn’t won a race since June last year when holding on in a tight finish to defeat Saluter at Eagle Farm in the Group 3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m).
His latest run was a disappointing tenth as a $51 roughie in the Magic Millions Sprint (1200m), with a subsequent Sunshine Coast trial bringing the experienced sprinter on fitness-wise for the Ascot Handicap.
Value bets in the mix shape-up as Stuart Kendrick’s I Am Invincible mare Divine Centuri ($10) who is out to atone for an unplaced Gold Coast run last time out back at her preferred track and the ultra-consistent Tisani Tomso ($13) coming off back-to-back thirds over 1050m at Doomben in April.
Check out the full Ascot Handicap 2017 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and latest Doomben odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au below.