Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Luckless Sydney horseman Bryce Heys will attempt a maiden Group 1 win for a third time with stable star Spieth who is best-fancied sprinter among the Newmarket Handicap 2017 first acceptances.
Racing Victoria took first declarations on Tuesday for the Australian Guineas (March 4) as well as the two Flemington feature races on ‘Super Saturday’ on March 11.
The $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) is down to 27 hopefuls for the weight-for-age feature including unlikely acceptor Winx, while the $1.25 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) drew 31 entries.
Down from 66 nominations, the Newmarket Handicap first acceptances and updated futures odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Thorn Park four-year-old Sydney visitor Spieth ($4.50).
During the Melbourne Cup Carnival the stallion lost the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) over the Newmarket Handicap track and distance by a nostril flare to Malaguerra.
He was the hard luck story again first-up last weekend back at Flemington Racecourse when caught up for a run to go down by the barest margins finishing second to Terravista in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
The bookmakers now have the perennial placegetter as favourite in pre-field Newmarket Handicap betting to atone and ease the pain felt by Heys after the two close calls.
Joe Pride’s veteran Black Caviar Lightning winner Terravista saluted at double-figures and also features in the Newmarket Handicap first declarations chasing the Flemington Group 1 sprint double.
Winner of the 2014 Darley Classic, the now seven-year-old son of Captain Rio is at $17 in the latest markets to hand Pride his first Newmarket Handicap trophy.
Scratched at the barriers in the Black Caviar Lightning after getting caught under the gates pre-jump, Robbie Griffiths’ reigning Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback could be back to defend his title next month.
The Street Boss six-year-old looked in an awful position in the pre-race drama last Saturday, but has come through the ordeal with only a bit of skin off and a Newmarket Handicap title defence looks in order.
He has stellar form at Flemington (13-5-0-4) and pays $21 to become the first back-to-back Newmarket Handicap winner since Razor Sharp (1982-83).
In the past 10 years four three-year-olds have taken out the Newmarket Handicap, most recently Brazen Beau (2015).
This autumn there are still 10 youngsters in the mix led by the Mick Price-trained Flying Artie who occupies the second line of futures betting at $7.
Price won the race three years back with Lankan Rupee (2014) and hopes to do so again with Artie Schiller colt Flying Artie.
Winner of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) against his own kind at Flemington during the spring, the youngster resumed with a seventh of nine runners in the Black Caviar Lightning.
He was only beaten 2.25 lengths in a blanket finish however and was always going to perform better getting back out to 1200m.
Other key three-year-old Newmarket Handicap first acceptors include the fellow Price-trained Blue Diamond winner Extreme Choice who resumes in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate this weekend and Black Caviar Lightning third placed Star Witness colt Star Turn.
Chautauqua also still holds a Newmarket Handicap nomination despite talks he will be raced over further distance this season including the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in Sydney on April 1.
The Team Hawkes-trained grey is a $6.5 million earner and sprint champion who has contested the past two editions of the Newmarket Handicap for a second in 2015 and third last autumn.
Chautauqua is being kept safe in betting at $11, equal with stablemate Star Turn, while Extreme Choice is at single-figures paying $9.
The Newmarket Handicap 2017 final field and barriers are set for release on Wednesday March 8.
2017 Newmarket Handicap First Acceptances
Flemington Racecourse – 11/04/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x6025x7542||BIG MONEY||G||7||Rodney Northam||102|
|2||x1311x47x3||CHAUTAUQUA||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||116|
|4||62x600x211||DAL CIELO (NZ)||G||4||Kris Lees||93|
|5||11x477x25||EL DIVINO||C||3||Darren Weir||89|
|6||1118x15x||EXTREME CHOICE||C||3||Mick Price||110|
|7||15x16225x7||FAATINAH||G||4||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||101|
|8||42156x323x||FELL SWOOP||G||5||Matthew Dale||108|
|10||2x123x11x7||FLYING ARTIE||C||3||Mick Price||110|
|11||6x1x14x32||GUARD OF HONOUR||C||3||Kris Lees||79|
|13||0x11134x31||HEY DOC||G||3||Tony McEvoy||100|
|14||1x154231x2||I AM A STAR (NZ)||F||3||Shane Nichols||105|
|15||121x1212x5||ILLUSTRIOUS LAD||G||5||Peter Gelagotis||105|
|17||1L0x55402x||MISS PROMISCUITY||M||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||99|
|20||5120x5x21x||REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB)||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||100|
|21||27x421152x||SHEIDEL||M||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||106|
|22||x0111x12x2||SPIETH (NZ)||H||4||Bryce Heys||–|
|23||256x1213x3||STAR TURN||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||–|
|24||1536x143x1||SUPER CASH||M||4||Andrew Noblet||103|
|26||242x256Px1||TARGET IN SIGHT||G||7||Joseph Pride||105|
|28||61539x146x||THE QUARTERBACK||G||6||Robbie Griffiths||110|
|30||13||VILLA ROSA||F||3||Ciaron Maher||63|
|31||212311210x||VOODOO LAD||G||5||Darren Weir||107|
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