Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Trainer Chris Waller has made the call to line-up Tom Melbourne in the Bill Ritchie Handicap 2017 field at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, the galloper to jump favourite in the race having avoided a clash with his superstar stablemate Winx.
Tom Melbourne was a dual acceptor at the meeting, also in the mix to take on the defending champion Winx when she shoots for her 20th straight win in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
The in-form Dylan Thomas seven-year-old however has scratched out of the George Main Stakes field, leaving Winx to face seven rivals as she looks for a 13th Group 1 success.
Waller also had McCreery dually accepted for the George Main and the Group 3 $150,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m), the latter offering a ballot exemption to the winner for the Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) in two weeks’ time.
The Big Bad Bob six-year-old was allocated the 58.5kg top weight for the Group 3, but has now been officially withdrawn and confirmed to join Winx, Mackintosh and Foxplay for the Waller stable in the day’s feature race.
Last time out he finished runner-up to George Main Stakes hopeful Happy Clapper in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), and even going up to 57kg on Saturday is tipped as the one to beat in easier company.
Waller has the Epsom Handicap 2017 in mind for Tom Melbourne, who sits as the $10 third favourite behind stablemate Egg Tart ($5) and the aforementioned Happy Clapper ($9) in futures markets for the September 30 showdown.
The early Bill Ritchie Handicap betting market mover and second elect at $3 is also Waller-trained, Fastnet Rock entire Comin’ Through last seen taking out a Benchmark 90 at the track and distance on August 19.
Third in the autumn’s Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m), four-year-old Comin’ Through has trialled since his last start victory and is proven over the metres making him a genuine winning hope again getting in on just 53kg.
Two other runners are also at single-figures for the win with the Godolphin-raced Epsom Handicap-bound stallion Spectroscope ($5.50) and Mark Newnham’s Northern Meteor gelding Burning Passion ($7).
Spectroscope is undefeated over 1400m and is out to improve on his second last when seventh to Deploy in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) on August 19, still only beaten two and a half-lengths.
Six-year-old Burning Passion was better last start, the galloper having run under a length back third in the same lead-up race.
See below for the full Bill Ritchie Handicap 2017 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and latest Fixed Win betting odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au on the key Epsom Handicap lead-up.
2017 Bill Ritchie Handicap Field & Odds
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