The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Last weekend’s Crystal Mile winner The United States is early favourite in the Cantala Stakes 2016 odds after the release of the final field of milers set to face off in the VRC Derby Day clash this weekend.
Formerly run as the Emirates Stakes a week later and briefly known as the Longines Mile, this Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) has attracted a capacity field of hopefuls.
The mile handicap clash is due to run as Flemington Race 8 at 4:35pm (AEDT) as the penultimate race on the all-Group status Derby Day card and features a full 16 starters plus an emergency is Entirely Platinum.
Leading early Cantala Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Enhanced Odds (T&Cs apply) – is the Team Williams-owned, Robert Hickmott-trained The United States ($4.80).
A veteran seven-year-old son of Galileo, the imported Irish stallion chases his second Group 1 success after taking out the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in Sydney during the autumn.
He is third-up on Saturday and after back-to-back mile wins on successive Saturdays after his one length win at weight-for-age in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) on Cox Plate Day.
Racing at Flemington for the first time since his Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) second at the track / distance on March 14, he drops two kilos from the Crystal Mile with 57kg on Saturday.
The Crystal Mile – Cantala Stakes double was achieved by Turn Me Loose (2015) last year, but he had an extra week between runs.
Heading the Cantala Stakes weights equal on 57kg with The United States is the Darren Weir-trained Palentino.
Currently rated a $6.50 chance in the post-field markets and firming, the Teofilo stallion is looking to atone for his last (13th) in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney on October 1.
Before that he posted his second official win from two starts over the Flemington mile in Group 1 company taking out the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over Black Heart Bart.
The super consistent four-year-old has a nearly flawless Flemington track record (4-3-1-0) and is two-from-three over the mile, so if he can bounce back from the Epsom flop is a livewire hope for Weir.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winning trainer has also accepted for Stratum Star (56kg) and Voodoo Lad (55kg) drawn at opposite ends of the Cantala Stakes field.
Five-year-old Stratum stallion Stratum Star is a $26 roughie for the win drawn in barrier four, which last produced a Cantala Stakes winner with All Silent (2008).
He needs to be improving on his recent form however if he is to be competitive including the \last start fifth in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
Moonga Stakes winner Voodoo Lad meanwhile has the outside barrier to overcome on Saturday.
Barrier 16 has produced two Cantala Stakes winners in the past 30 years, most recently Tears I Cry (2007).
Voodoo Lad is a $10 chance in the markets to be the next and continue his gun spring form.
The son of I Am Invincible won back-to-back sprints to kick off his campaign before the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) second in late April and the Moonga Stakes win on October 15.
Also under double-figures are He’s Our Rokkii ($6.50), Seaburge ($6.50) and Mackintosh ($9).
The Lindsay Park-trained four-year-old, out to be the fourth Cantala Stakes winner in as many years to salute for that age group, He’s Our Rokkii is in flying form.
He has won his five latest starts going back to early April, including the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) over the Caulfield mile on October 8.
Carrying 55kg to victory from barrier one that day with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle, Saturday sees him shoot for back-to-back Group 1s with Dunn aboard from a wider barrier (11 into 10).
Barrier 10 produced last year’s Cantala Stakes winner Turn Me Loose and will belong to He’s Our Rokkii if the sole emergency Entirely Platinum (9) fails to gain a start.
Seaburge also represents David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.
He gets in on just 50kg and is the lightweight in the field jumping from barrier two with Chad Schofield in the saddle.
A three-year-old Sebring colt, Seaburge is out to make history as the first Cantala Stakes winning three-year-old in over 30 years.
He comes off a last start second in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at the distance and has previous winning form at Flemington.
Mackintosh represents Sydney’s best Chris Waller, of Winx fame, and is out to hand his trainer a third Cantala Stakes victory.
Waller previously won the race with Albert The Fat (2011) and Boban (2013), and Pins four-year-old Mackintosh coming off the Epsom third has early support to be the next.
See below for the full Cantala Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and latest Fixed Win odds from Ladbrokes.com.au.
2016 Cantala Stakes Field, Barriers & Odds
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