The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Patrick Webster’s last start Epsom Handicap winner Happy Clapper has opened odds-on favourite to keep the wins coming in the Craven Plate 2017 field at Royal Randwick this Saturday.
Sydney racing is headlined on the weekend by the $10 million The Everest (1200m) race featuring a dozen of the world’s best sprinters including She Will Reign and Chautauqua.
The key support act on The Everest race day card is the Group 3 $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) set to run as the penultimate event on the 10-race program.
A full field of 12 plus an emergency is engaged for this year’s Craven Plate, betting for which at Ladbrokes.com.au has seven-year-old miler Happy Clapper at a short $1.70.
The in-form son of Teofilo comes off a win in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) carrying top weight of 57kg, but meets his rivals even on 59kg under weight-for-age conditions in the Craven Plate field.
The short Craven Plate odds are despite the fact that from four starts at the distance, Happy Clapper is yet to win having just the one third on the record for 2000m.
That placing was in very good company in the autumn of 2016 when under three lengths beaten behind Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
This weekend Happy Clapper is out to extend his brilliance over further than a mile for the first time before a possible October 28 clash with Winx in Melbourne’s Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
He took Winx on in the 2016 Cox Plate, but didn’t come within 11 lengths of the super star mare who is $1.25 to make it three straight wins in the weight-for-age classic.
Happy Clapper occupies the second line of all-in Ladbrokes Cox Plate betting, but is at $21 to score what would go down in history as one of Australian racing’s biggest upsets.
In the Craven Plate on Saturday, Blake Shinn continues his association in the saddle of the favourite who came up trumps with barrier one.
There are only two other horses under double-figures in Craven Stakes betting this spring with Star Exhibit ($7.50) and Mackintosh ($9.50) prepared by top trainers Darren Weir and Chris Waller respectively.
Tye Angland rides WA-owned Star Exhibit for the first time, the six-year-old son of Statue Of Liberty chasing his first win since the Listed Anniversary Vase (1440m) at Caulfield back in late April.
Reigning champion in the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m), Star Exhibit also finished runner-up in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) this winter.
His spring has been hit and miss however, including losing his rider (Mark Zahra) in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley second-up.
He returned to that track on September 29 under the lights on Moir Stakes Night for a close fifth beaten three lengths by the winner Jon Snow in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) ahead of his Sydney race debut this weekend.
Mackintosh is one of two Waller-trained chances in the race along with McCreery ($14), the Pins five-year-old coming off a third in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (1800m) at the track on September 30.
It has been a long time between drinks for Mackintosh who hasn’t won since September of 2016, but he was third in last year’s Epsom Handicap and has winning form up to 2200m.
Kris Lees’ Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion ($16) out to improve on a Hill Stakes eighth first-up is the other standout Craven Plate hopeful in 2017.
See below for the full Craven Plate 2017 field, barriers, jockeys and latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Craven Plate Field, Barriers & Odds
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