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The 2017 Gilgai Stakes serves as a nice lead-up to the upcoming Group 1 sprint races in Melbourne and a smart field of short-distance gallopers do battle at Flemington on Saturday, our betting tips for which are detailed below.
Set to run as Flemington Race 4 at 2:40pm (AEDT) down the iconic ‘Straight Six’ track on Turnbull Stakes Day, where Winx shoots for her 21st win on the trot in the next, this year’s Group 2 $200,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) features nine hopefuls.
Clear favourite in the Gilgai Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Bryce Heys-trained Spieth ($2.60) who has had to settle for second in two previous Group 1 races at the track.
His last Flemington run was a ninth to The Everest-bound Redkirk Warrior in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in the autumn, which still only saw the son of Thorn Park defeated three lengths.
First-up the smart stallion ran second to Redzel in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick after suffering respiratory issues, and the money is on Spieth enjoying the return to Flemington second-up and fitter.
If Spieth suffers from place-getter syndrome again, the other best in Concorde Stakes betting is first-up flyer Silent Sedition ($4.20) for Andrew Noblet.
The Group 1 winning mare has form up to 2000m, but the 1200m first-up will suit as she has her first run since the close fourth when just over a length off the winner Foxplay in Randwick’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) in the autumn.
So will the two best in betting run the quinella or is there value to be had further down the Gilgai Stakes markets from the likes of Bons Away ($7.50) chasing a fifth win on the trot having defeated Brave Smash last start or Keen Array ($11) who ran fifth in the same lead-up race at Caulfield as Bons Away?
#6 Silent Sedition ($4.20)
Going for the upset with the ultra-consistent War Chant mare who doesn’t know how to run a bad race. From four first-up runs she has enjoyed a win and three placings, and while she can handle plenty more distance, her 1200m record is impressive (5-2-3-0). She’s the genuine Each Way chance, but happy to tip her for the win fresh with the outside barrier a non-issue at Flemington in a small field. Better with a corner, but only Flemington run to date produced a close third and she gets in well weight-wise. The form of her William Reid Stakes win at The Valley over this distance also holds as she defeated Star Turn (3rd) on the back of his third in the Newmarket Handicap (where Spieth finished ninth).
#4 Spieth ($2.60)
Spieth is the firming favourite and cannot be left out of the top two. He’s been luckless in Group 1 sprints and the first-up second when two lengths beaten was forgivable due to health issues. Recovered since and present fitter here. Genuine Flemington horse (4-1-2-0) so the return to the straight track has him running better.
#1 The Quarterback ($7.50)
Robbie Griffiths-trained seven-year-old was dead last (12th) to Silent Sedition in the William Reid Stakes, but is still being kept safe in betting by the bookies. That’s because at Flemington, he’s a specialist (14-5-0-4). Was four lengths off for 10th, just one behind Spieth in the Newmarket Handicap, and won this race last year. Genuine place chance.
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