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Pre-field Newmarket Handicap 2017 odds on the ‘Super Saturday’ sprint at Flemington Racecourse this weekend are currently led by Spieth and the three-year-old speedster Flying Artie.
Of the official thirty-one nominations for this autumn’s $1.25 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) just three are under double-figures in all-in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Current favourite out to salute for the Newmarket Handicap punters for the first time since Hay List (2012) is the consistent Bryce Heys-trained Spieth.
A four-year-old Thorn Park stallion, Spieth was runner-up at the track and distance in the spring behind Malaguerra in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
Lightly-raced having enjoyed five wins and three seconds from ten starts to date, the progressive galloper was last seen running a devastatingly close second to Terravista in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
It was a heartbreaking Lightning Stakes result for the Warwick Farm-based Heys who had to settle for a luckless second in a Flemington Group 1 with Spieth again after the horse was blocked for a run in a crucial stage.
Spieth has a stellar second-up record, but Heys is far from confident going into the Newmarket Handicap on Saturday where his gun runner is handicapped on 55kg.
“We knew what we were in for with the weight,” Heys told the Herald Sun.
“I don’t think it [55kg] makes a lot of sense and I think it means he will have to run a career peak to win, but it’s just a hoop we’re going to have to jump through.”
In the past four years only one Newmarket Handicap winner has carried above 52kg with Lankan Rupee (56.5kg in 2014).
Occupying the second line of futures Newmarket Handicap betting 2017 at a current quote of $5 is the Mick Price-trained Artie Schiller colt Flying Artie.
Three-year-olds have a solid recent record in the race with four wins in the past decade.
A dual Group 1 runner-up as a two-year-old last autumn, Flying Artie came back in the spring and won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight.
He too is a Lightning Stakes graduate out to improve on his seventh when beaten two and a quarter-lengths in the race that has provided four of the past six Newmarket Handicap winners.
Price, who won the race with the aforementioned Lankan Rupee (2014), has opted not to run stablemate Extreme Choice on Saturday.
Instead he saves the last start Oakleigh Plate third placegetter for a Moonee Valley run under the lights on March 24 in the $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
The other single-figure fancy for the Newmarket Handicap is Star Turn ($7.50), another exciting three-year-old out to stop the older gallopers.
The Star Witness colt is prepared by Hawkes Racing and in his first run since the Coolmore Stud Stakes third to Flying Artie, finished third again in the Lightning Stakes on February 18.
Check out the latest Newmarket Handicap 2017 odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au enjoying the juicy all-in pricing before markets firm with the release of final acceptances on Wednesday.
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