The weekend’s feature race favourite Big Duke...
Siege of Quebec has bounced back in dramatic fashion at Royal Randwick on Saturday, claiming first in the $160,000 Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
After bitter disappointment in sticky conditions at the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill last week, Siege of Quebec’s last-second dive for the line saw the son of Fastnet Rock win by a nose over $2.90 race favourite Pierata.
Caught three wide on the final turn, all eyes were on James McDonald and Pierata, who moved from a similar position to challenge race leader Music Magnate inside the final furlong. Before you could blink, Siege of Quebec exploded from nowhere to win by a nose.
The win set a new race record (1:21.56), slicing a tenth of a second of the previous one. Now the only question remains, is Siege of Quebec well-suited to the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick later this month?
With a dazzling turn of foot on full display on Saturday, it could be argued sprint racers are the better option for the four-year old. Siege of Quebec stands at $15.00 odds behind Happy Clapper, Pierata, Comin’ Through, Kementari, Unforgotten and race-favourite D’Argento ahead of the September 29 Epsom.
Having also been nominated for October’s Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2400m), the stable has some big decisions to make.
Other storylines to come out of Saturday’s race was Pierata’s close call. He too is nominated for the Epsom and currently stands on the second line of betting at $10.00.
As for Tom Melbourne, runner-up status wasn’t to be in the Bill Ritchie, as jockey Corey Brown was held up in traffic down the straight struggling to find any sort of position.
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