Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
It is shaping-up as an intriguing edition of the 2017 Crystal Mile on Cox Plate Day this weekend with a wide open betting market and a field of genuine milers, our insider tips and updated odds on the showdown found below.
Race 8 at 4:10pm (AEDT) is the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m), run one event before Winx goes for her 22nd straight victory and third Ladbrokes Cox Plate success.
The Crystal Mile field is down to just nine starters after the early scratching of Mick Bell’s mudlark Jungle Edge (5) and of the remaining hopefuls, six are under $10 for the win.
It is proving a punters’ nightmare in the updated Crystal Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au with so many genuine winning hopes, including the narrow $4.80 favourite Religify ($4.80) in barrier three with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Back-to-back Doomben winner over the mile in the winter, this Choisir seven-year-old kicked off with a close Caulfield second under a big weight (60.5kg) in the Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m).
Fitter second-up, better over the 1600m (7: 4-1-0) and comes back to 59kg at WFA in another plus for the Chris Waller-trained favourite with Moonee Valley the only query.
If Religify doesn’t like the tight track, there are plenty of others willing to strike including the Doncaster Mile winner from the autumn It’s Somewhat ($5) drawn the rails along with the Darren Weir-trained duo of Lucky Hussler ($6.50) and Burning Front ($5).
So will the best in Crystal Mile betting salute or is there an upset pending from the likes of the Lindsay Park-trained Toorak Handicap third placegetter Petrology ($13) or Waller’s other runner Antonio Giuseppe ($8) in the outside alley?
#1 It’s Somewhat ($5)
First-up the James Cummings-trained Godolphin galloper ran under four lengths back 10th in Caulfield’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke (1400m) giving the weight away (58kg) to the winner (52kg). Back to WFA he can atone and return to his better form, which included the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) win in Sydney over subsequent Epsom Handicap champ Happy Clapper in the autumn. Does he like The Valley? On Saturday we’ll find out, but he does fire second-up (8:2-0-3) and think with Kerrin McEvoy on from the inside alley can win.
#3 Burning Front ($5)
Priums seven-year-old is The Valley specialist in this field (5:3-1-0). He doesn’t know how to run badly here and will relish getting back to the track for the first time since carrying 60kg in the VOBIS Gold Star to victory over 1500m by 2.75lengths in the summer. That was part of a five straight winning streak for the consistent galloper who is looking to get back to his best off a second in last Saturday’s Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. Right track, gun miler and finally gets back to 1600m for the first time since a Group 3 win in Adelaide during the winter. Genuine danger.
#2 Lucky Hussler ($6.50)
Like the other Weir runner for a place, happy to give the veteran Husson eight-year-old another go. His most recent form has left a bit to be desired, but sensing a comeback. Was 11th in the Weekend Hussler, still only 3.5 lengths beaten carrying 61.5kg. WFA is better and has winning form at a mile. Can surprise with a clearer run on Saturday.
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