Comeback king Jim Byrne is confident he can...
Ranier may be on the drift in 2019 Festival Stakes betting but the Godolphin-raced four-year-old remains favourite to take out the Group 3 at Rosehill on Saturday from the inside alley.
The feature race in Sydney this weekend, the Group 3 $160,000 Iron Jack Festival Stakes (1500m) originally drew a final field of 14 hopefuls before the early withdrawal of the ex-Godolphin import Spectroscope (6).
Heading the latest Festival Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au easing out from $4.20 to $4.60 is the James Cummings-trained Lonhro bay Ranier chasing his first win since a first-up victory over 1400m in a BM88 on September 28.
That win fresh was at Rosehill Gardens where he returns for the first time since on the back of an eye-catching run at Flemington over the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
On Mackinnon Stakes Day (November 9) Ranier finished a nostril-flare second behind Mandela Effect in a BM90 over the mile carrying 58kg.
The galloper should relish returning to The Gardens, dropping back to 500m and carrying just 53kg in the Festival Stakes field.
Interestingly, no horse has carried less than 54kg to victory in the Festival Stakes since Dysphonia (53kg) in 2010.
In an open market a further four runners are under double figures in the current Festival Stakes odds including fellow 53kg lightweight Don’t Give A Damn ($6) drawn one on the outside of the favourite in barrier two.
Glyn Schofield rides the Danny Williams-trained Bon Hoffa six-year-old who comes off a win in the Snake Gully Cup (1400m) at Gundagai carrying a hefty 60.5kg to victory.
This is obviously a tougher race, but the chestnut has great Rosehill form (7:4-1-0), is undefeated over the distance (2:2-0-0) and drops a notable 7.5kg in weight.
Equal with Don’t Give A Damn on $6 for the win is the Scone-trained Beneteau six-year-old Bobbing, third to Handle The Truth two back in the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Randwick, racing at Doomben for the first time third-up.
The next best in betting are recent Testa Rossa Stakes winner Renewal ($6.50) for Team Hawkes and the Chris Waller-trained comeback galloper Sambro ($7.50).
Hall of Famer John Hawkes won the Festival Stakes back in 2004 with Ide’s Dream, the master trainer chasing his first since with last start The Hunter fifth place-getter Renewal in barrier 12 with Tommy Berry to ride.
Waller has had a simply outstanding spring carnival, the master trainer now chasing his third Festival Stakes victory in the past six years.
Waller prepared I’m Imposing (2014) and last year’s champion My Nordic Hero (2018) and saddles-up three in this year’s race led by James McDonald’s mount Sambro.
Fastnet Rock five-year-old Sambro runs first-up in the event making a return to racing for his first run since the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) second at the Gold Coast back in January 11 months back.
Waller chases back-to-back Festival Stakes wins as a trainer for the first time since Tim Martin with This Manshood (2002-03).
His other chances are last start Hawkesbury winner Cellarman ($18) to be ridden by last year’s winning hoop Hugh Bowman and the returning Hogmanay who carry 59kg and 53kg respectively.
2019 Festival Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||3810x237x0||INVINCIBLE GEM||Kris Lees||Ms Rachel King||14||59kg||106|
|2||667045×071||CELLARMAN||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||8||59kg||102|
|3||43211×1355||RENEWAL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||13||57.5kg||99|
|4||9x4009x042||MOSS TRIP||Peter & Paul Snowden||Nash Rawiller||11||57kg||102|
|5||x394267x33||SPECTROSCOPE (USA)||Natalie McCall||Joshua Parr||6||57kg||98|
|6||811x37242x||SAMBRO||Chris Waller||James McDonald||10||56.5kg||97|
|7||69100990×7||SIREN’S FURY||Jason Coyle||Tim Clark||9||55kg||98|
|8||825100x88x||MR GARCIA (GB)||Kris Lees||Christian Reith||7||55kg||94|
|9||11x93328x9||LIVE AND FREE (NZ)||John O’Shea||Brenton Avdulla||4||53.5kg||91|
|10||121x216x34||BOBBING||Bernie Kelly||James Innes Jnr||5||53kg||88|
|11||x955930346||TESTASHADOW||Gary Portelli||Deanne Panya||12||53kg||88|
|12||1x950x7751||DON’T GIVE A DAMN||Danny Williams||Glyn Schofield||2||53kg (Probable weight: 54kg)||87|
|13||544037115x||HOGMANAY||Chris Waller||Jay Ford||3||53kg||87|
|14||564×031042||RANIER||James Cummings||Ms Kathy O’Hara||1||53kg||87|
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