Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Eleven sprinters have been confirmed to contest the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday; a race that offers punters exceptional value from a betting perspective and several key opportunities to place a winning wager.
Group 1 winner English remains a clear $2.30 favourite in 2016 The Shorts betting markets with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au, ahead of Clearly Innocent ($6) and Kaepernick ($8).
Will English justify favouritism and win the 2016 The Shorts, or will one of her talented rivals post an upset?
Japonisme is likely to have the fitness edge on a number of his rivals in The Shorts on Saturday and is drawn ideally in barrier 4, with Hugh Bowman in the saddle. Capping a standout 2015 campaign with a blistering performance for success in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), the Choisir gelding returned in autumn for third behind Chautauqua and Terravista in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) before placing fifth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m). Progressing to third in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m), Japonisme returned to winning form in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) before ending his campaign third in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m). Japonisme drops 2kgs from his first-up run and should have the class to win The Shorts.
English has been a strong and consistent performer for Gai Waterhouse throughout her entire racing career so far, but may require her first-up run in The Shorts to return to top condition. Winning the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) before finishing second to stable mate Vancouver in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in 2015, English returned to racing this year for success in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on March 5th. Progressing to sixth in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) on March 19th, the daughter of Encosta De Lago ran on for third in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) before posting her maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 16th.
Ball Of Muscle ($10)
Consistent sprinter Ball Of Muscle is likely to take up the pace in The Shorts from the rails draw and is reportedly in slick form ahead of his competitive return. Claiming eight wins and a further nine minors through only nineteen career starts, the Dubawi gelding returned last spring for minors in each of the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) and The Shorts before finishing second behind Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m). Having ended his campaign third in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m), Ball Of Muscle failed to come up in autumn this year but has trialled well leading into The Shorts.
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