Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
A small but classy field of stayers face off in the Bendigo Cup 2017 this afternoon in Victoria, our insider tips and updated betting odds on the mile and a half clash detailed below.
Only seven horses are in the mix for this season’s Group 3 $300,000 Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m), which is set to run as Bendigo Race 8 at 4:00pm (AEDT).
Leading the latest Bendigo Cup odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.40 and firming is the Charlie Appleby-trained international Godolphin raider Qewy.
The now eight-year-old hasn’t raced in 13 weeks, his last start a disappointing second last in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup (3218m) in Europe carting 60.5kg.
He is better placed back down under in the Bendigo Cup field, the son of Street Cry a dual Melbourne winner last spring.
First-up in Australia in 2016 Qewy won the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m).
He went on to round out the Melbourne Cup First Four in the ‘Race That Stops The Nation’ when just out of the money behind Almandin in the two-mile classic.
Qewy backed-up off his Melbourne Cup run and was back in winning form in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m).
Today last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy rides Qewy in the Bendigo Cup on 59kg from barrier two.
The horse is guaranteed a start in the Melbourne Cup field on November 7 sitting inside the top 24 on the latest order of entry, but is an unlikely final acceptor.
The big danger in gate five with 56kg is the in-form Kiwia ($2.60) who chases a fourth win from five starts.
Darren Weir saddles-up the Reset four-year-old whose lead-up start on Caulfield Cup Day produced a nice win in the Group 3 Coongy Cup (2000m).
Kiwia is also proven over the 2400m and gets the chance to win over that distance again here fourth-up with Damian Lane retaining the ride.
So will the top two in Bendigo Cup betting salute or is there an upset pending from a stayer further down the markets including the rails-drawn Foundry ($5.50) who won Sydney’s Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) two back or the Tony McEvoy-trained dour stayer Big Memory ($8)?
#1 Qewy ($2.40)
Hard to go past the firming and deserving favourite. Gives the fitness edge away, but has done plenty of work since arriving down under and has an outstanding spring record in Melbourne from last season. Won the Group 3 Geelong Cup over this distance first-up in 2016 and always performs well fresh (10:3-1-2). Melbourne cup fourth and subsequent Sandown Cup win prove his class and McEvoy knows the horse well. This distance, resuming he looks hard to hold out in a small field lacking the depth he’s faced before.
#4 Big Memory ($8)
Big of value on offer for Big Memory who is improving. Duke Of Marmalade eight-year-old is an out-and-out stayer with an excellent top two record over the 2400m (8:1-5-0). Was against the best earlier in his career winning the 2014 Herbert Power Stakes and performed in Group 1 company plenty of times. Hasn’t been as brilliant this time finishing right at the back of the fields over 1700m at Flemington and Caulfield respectively first and second-up. Rising in distance he was better last start in the Moe Cup (2050m) finishing fourth to Count Da Vinci carrying 57.5kg. Relishes the rise to the mile and a half, and drops to 55.5kg so is a livewire chance for a place.
#3 Kiwia ($2.60)
Hard to knock the consistency of Weir’s up-and-comer who has had 10 career starts for six wins and three other minor placings. Proven over this distance in the winter and is back to it off the Group 3 Caulfield Cup Day win over 2000m. Comes up from 54kg to 56kg, but Lane in the saddle is a plus and it is the same sort of quality rival-wise.
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