Trainer Ciaron Maher is looking to step his...
It is shaping up as a wide open edition of the Kensington Stakes 2018 at Flemington Racecourse on the weekend with all but one of the eight sprinters engaged in the short distance clash under $10 for the win.
Set to run as Flemington Race 8 at 5:20pm (AEDT), this summer’s Listed $120,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m) features plenty of talented thousand metre specialists and currently two are battling for top spot in the markets.
Heading the latest Kensington Stakes odds at $4.50 each through Ladbrokes.com.au are the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Hong Kong import Amber Sky and the Darren Weir-trained Thermal Current.
Mark Zahra has the ride first-up on Exceed And Excel eight-year-old Amber Sky for the galloper’s maiden run down under.
A Group 1 winner in Dubai’s Al Quoz Sprint back in 2014, the former international hasn’t won a race since but remains a danger according to the bookmakers.
Thermal Current gets in well weight-wise with 55.5kg and has ace jockey Craig Williams aboard.
The Exceed And Excel seven-year-old has the fitness edge here coming off a strong summer campaign that included a Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) fourth when under a length beaten at Caulfield on a very firm track on Boxing Day.
He raced again on January 13 at Flemington and returns to the track on the short back-up this Saturday looking to improve on the last start third when carrying 58kg over 1100m.
The lighter kilos and shorter distance are both ticks and the evergreen gelding could cause a problem for his rivals.
Occupying the second line of Kensington Stakes betting at $5.50 is then Husson Eagle, a resuming six-year-old from the Plumpton stables of Patrick Payne.
A gun over the distance (12:3-3-2), this gelding hasn’t raced since August and punters need to go right back to the Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) in November of 2016 to find the horse’s last victory.
Still, in such an open market there’s a chance for this always-honest sprinter to finally get back to winning form and his price reflects that.
Following closely at $6 and $6.50 respectively and starting to present as a bit of value in the race are then Saracino and Lord Of The Sky drawn in barriers three and eight respectively.
One of the up-and-comers in the field, Per Incanto four-year-old Saracino is prepared locally by Michael Moroney but hasn’t raced since mid-September.
The Kiwi expat is a Group 2 winner at the Flemington track having won the 2016 Danehill Stakes and was only two lengths away sixth to Divine Prophet in that year’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Third in an elite level sprint back across the Tasman in February last year, the still untapped galloper also enjoyed a second career Group 2 success in New Zealand before things went amiss in Melbourne over the spring.
His latest start produced a dead last when 12th to Redkirk Warrior in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) down the straight six.
Fresh in easier company here, Saracino could be the one to get behind especially with Damien Oliver having been booked for the ride.
Lord Of The Sky meanwhile is heading a number of professional punter’s Kensington Stakes tips after Robbie Laing’s Danerich entire having saluted in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) here on New Year’s Day with 59kg.
Oliver rode him that day but is replaced by Ben Melham on the weekend, Lord Of The Sky carrying 59.5kg with weights topped by Flamberge (61.5kg).
Check out the full Kensington Stakes 2018 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and Fixed Win racing odds on the weekend’s sole black-type race below with markets now open at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 Kensington Stakes Final Field & Betting
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