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One of the key Queensland Winter Racing Carnival cup races takes place up in North Queensland on Saturday with the 2017 Mackay Cup taking centre stage, betting tips on the handicap clash found below.
There are a dozen hopefuls making up the field for this year’s $75,000 Payne Print 2017 Mackay Cup (1800m) including the Krystle Johnston-trained Craiglea Deken who is out to extend his winning streak to seven on the trot.
His past five wins have seen the Sunshine Coast-based Longhorn four-year-old salute as the odds-on favourite and Craiglea Deken is again tipped as the horse to beat leading the Mackay Cup betting markets.
Saturday marks the gun galloper’s eighth trip to the Mackay track where he boasts three wins and four seconds.
After five straight wins at Townsville from early April – the start of June where he carried up to 64kg to victory, the gelding was last seen taking out the weight-for-age H.L. Black Memorial (1560m) at Mackay.
This weekend Craiglea Deken needs to handle a couple of tests, firstly the distance as he is yet to race over further than a mile and also the weight carrying 61kg.
Johnston believes her galloper is more than capable of winning under those kilos, but it does open things up for a possible upset with the rest of the field on 54.5kg or 54kg.
“With him [weight] it doesn’t make a huge difference. He’s able to carry it because he’s such a big-bodied, strong horse,” Johnston told the media in mid-June.
“We’ve found as well that it makes a huge difference that he doesn’t have to carry deadweight.
“[Jockeys] Adrian Coome and Peter Cullen can ride those heavy weights without a big heavy saddle. We’ve found that has been a huge advantage.”
Coome is aboard the galloper this weekend, his third straight ride on Craiglea Deken.
So can Craiglea Deken continue his Winx-like winning streak or is there an upset Mackay Cup result pending from the likes of the Tom Button-trained Deconstructed coming off a Rocky Cup fourth from last weekend or the Glenda Bell-trained Fastnet Flyer who was runner-up to Saturday’s favourite last time out?
#4 Fastnet Flyer
There’s no doubts that Craiglea Deken is doing freakish things on the provincial North Queensland tracks, but this in-form Husson six-year-old is due a win after back-to-back seconds. First of those was under 59kg at his home Emerald track over a mile before he was second past the post behind Craiglea Deken in the key lead-up race. This weekend he meets his last start conqueror a huge seven kilos better in the weights and that could be enough to see him close the gap. Also in Fastnet Flyer’s advantage is his prove ability over the Mackay Cup distance (8-3-2-0) and the ideal gate seven draw, which gives jockey Les Tilley options.
#1 Craiglea Deken
There will be plenty trackside on Saturday cheering along this Sunny Coast galloper who is doing everything right this time in. The 61kg is manageable, but could the distance prove a little too far? Only time will tell. He is the obvious tip and if he sees out the metres could just go on and be too good again.
Right draw and right weight to suggest a big finish from this Tim Cook-trained Canny Lad mare who was last seen running third over the same distance at Rockhampton a fortnight ago. She comes right back from 56.5kg to 54kg on the weekend, has winning form at Mackay (5-2-0-1) and is one of the few in the mix that looks ideally suited to the 1800m. Gets the run of the race from barrier three, but has a jockey change with Tilley on Fastnet Flyer.
Get in on the Mackay Cup 2017 betting action online at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of the best winter racing odds and offers.
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