The weekend’s feature race favourite Big Duke...
The $2 million Emirates Stakes 2017 is the feature race on the final Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting on Saturday and our insider tips on the Flemington clash and updated odds are detailed below.
Due to run as Flemington Race 8 as the penultimate event on the card at 4:55pm (AEDT), the field for his year’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) is down to 14 after the early scratching of the Robert Hickmott-trained Sir Isaac Newton (7).
It’s a close first-half of the market at Ladbrokes.com.au with five standouts in the Emirates Stakes odds including narrow early favourite Folkswood ($5).
Drawn the outside alley (15 into 14), which last produced a winner of the old Mackinnon Stakes with Grand Armee (2004), the visiting Godolphin raider was last seen running third to champion mare Winx in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Exceed And Excel is out to frank that Winx Cox Plate form and return to the winners’ stall having earlier saluted first-up in Australia with a 2.75 length win in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m).
There are currently two equal $6 second elects following Folkswood in Emirates Stakes betting this spring with returning Kiwi stayer Gingernuts to be ridden by Michael Dee in place of the suspended Hugh Bowman and the Darren Weir-trained three-year-old Cliff’s Edge.
So can the Emirates Stakes favourite Folkswood salute for the punters or is there an upset in the weight-for-age classic pending from the likes of the race’s 2015 winner Gailo Chop ($7) or even the Chris Waller-trained perennial runner-up Tom Melbourne ($11) coming off a second in the Kennedy Mile on Derby Day?
#7 Folkswood ($5)
Think the internationally-trained favourite looks pretty hard to beat and in an open market is still available at a good price. Needs to work from the wide draw, by jockey Kerrin McEvoy is the master rider from wide out in Group 1 races. The Winx form didn’t hold in the Melbourne Cup, but in another WFA over the same distance think it will be the one to beat. This horse was a good second there, is a winner in Australia and beat a number of these last time out without a worry.
#15 Cliff’s Edge ($6)
The unknown youngster in the field, trainer Darren Weir gives the gun youngster a go on the lightweight against the older horses after bypassing the Derby. Won the Ladbrokes Classic over this distance two back before the distant second to Aloisia in the Moonee Valley Vase last time out. He had a big margin to spare on the next best over the line there though and gets the chance to fly dropping 6kg with Dean Yendall in the saddle.
#3 Gailo Chop ($7)
When French-trained this galloper won the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes and returns for Weir this weekend. If following the Cox Plate form, this is the other WFA horse you want to be on. He defeated subsequent Melbourne Cup runner-up Johannes Vermeer two back in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and then ran fifth to Winx in the cox Plate. Gets a good run from the barrier and has the right lead-up for a big run again.
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