Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Perth Summer Racing continues at Ascot Racecourse on the weekend for AJ Scahill Stakes Day and in the other support act on the card it is the flying Adam Durrant-trained mare Celebrity Dream jumping favourite in the RS Crawford Stakes 2017 field and betting markets.
Running as Ascot Race 3 at 2:43pm (AWST), this year’s Listed $100,000 R.S. Crawford Stakes (1000m) has attracted a diminutive field of only five short-distance specialists.
Heading the line-up is five-year-old Thorn Park mare Celebrity Dream at an odds-on price through Ladbrokes.com.au of $1.80 to make it six wins in eight starts, but the Bob Peters-raced mare is yet to be confirmed as running.
“Her rating is 86 after wins in fillies and mares’ company at her past two starts,” Peters told The West Australian.
“She could rise significantly in ratings if winning against Crawford Stakes’ class.
“Crawford top-weight Durendal has a 100 rating.
“People are frightened to run horses out of their class, in case their ratings increase sharply.”
She has been defeated just once in her seven runs going back to February and comes off back-to-back Ascot victories this preparation completing the Jungle Mist – Jungle Dawn Classic double.
Celebrity Dream is a genuine Ascot specialist (9:4-2-2), is unbeaten at 1000m and only needs to handle the drop back down in distance to salute again here.
Chris Gangemi’s former Victorian Durendal is another huge chance in the race and is the early RS Crawford Stakes betting market mover.
Previously prepared at Flemington by Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra, the six-year-old son of Medaglia D’Oro is perhaps best known for his Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) win down the Flemington straight back on New Year’s Day in 2016.
He has failed to win since and has been racing in WA with the Ascot-based Gangemi since December last year.
A consistent sprinter in Perth for the stable, Durendal comes off back-to-back thirds at the Ascot track this summer.
Two back he was a quarter-length beaten by State Solicitor in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) before his excellent third when two lengths off the winning Adelaide-trained mare Viddora in the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) as a $41 outsider on December 2.
His conqueror in the Colonel Reeves Stakes State Solicitor and a host of Winterbottom Stakes graduates rise in distance on Saturday to tackle the Group 3 $250,000 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m).
Durendal however will be dropped right back in distance and grade for the RS Crawford Stakes looking to finally get back into the winners’ stall.
The latest RS Crawford Stakes odds have him at $3.10 and firming for the win after a favourable inside draw for the horse and his hoop on the weekend Shaun McGruddy who retains the ride out of the Winterbottom Stakes.
It is a tight battle for second spot in RS Crawford Stakes betting this summer however with Volkoff hot on his heels at $3.30 and drawn one on his outside in gate two.
Gary Crispin’s Time Thief mare Volkoff comes off a lead-up second in the Listed Jungle Mist Classic (1200m) behind Saturday’s hot favourite Celebrity Dream, before which she was seventh in the Colonel Reeves Stakes.
She too is out to break a winning drought after a maiden win since mid-January when Volkoff had Durendal’s measure in the Listed Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m).
A firm track, top form over the distance and the 54.5kg lightweight make her a danger.
Check out the full R.S. Crawford Stakes 2017 field, barriers and odds below with pricing available now at Ladbrokes.com.au for all the weekend races in Perth.
2017 RS Crawford Stakes Field & Odds
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