Godolphin’s three-time Group 1 champion Avilius...
Trainer Darren Weir makes a three-pronged assault on the Emirates Stakes 2017 field at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday including saddling-up the only three-year-old chance in the weight-for-age clash Cliff’s Edge.
Set to run as Flemington Race 8 at 4:55pm (AEDT) as the penultimate event on the final Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting, this season’s Group 1 $2 million Emirates Stakes (2000m) features an open field of 15 hopefuls.
In the latest Emirates Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au five of the weight-for-age horses are paying between $5.50 and $7.50 including $6 second favourite Cliff’s Edge in barrier 10 with Dean Yendall riding on the 51kg lightweight.
Formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes and contested a week earlier on VRC Derby Day, Emirates Stakes history shows that just the one three-year-old has managed to win in 30 plus years when Casula Pass (2003) saluted.
This spring super consistent Canford Cliffs colt Cliff’s Edge is out to break the hoodoo coming up against the older horses for the first time.
Cliff’s Edge was originally slated for the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) after his smart 2.75 length win in Caulfield’s Group 3 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m).
Next-up however he encountered the very smart filly Aloisia, who is odds-on favourite for Thursday’s Group 1 $1 million Kennedy Oaks (2500m), finishing a distant second to her in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on Cox Plate Day.
Weir opted to bypass the Derby and save Cliff’s Edge for this weekend’s Emirates Stakes despite the historical stats suggesting the youngster won’t win.
The only runner currently above Cliff’s Edge in the Emirates Stakes betting markets is the Charlie Appleby-trained UK raider for Godolphin, Folkswood ($5).
Last year’s winning Melbourne Cup jockey Kerrin McEvoy continues his association on the visiting Exceed And Excel five-year-old who has impressed in Victoria this spring.
First-up Folkswood enjoyed a nearly three length victory in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) before the tough run for third behind champion mare Winx in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
Originally the Emirates Stakes was a possible final spring option for Australia’s highest-earning racecourse Winx, but Waller has opted to look after her with a well-earned spell ahead of an autumn return.
That leaves the other Cox Plate graduates to frank the form out of the race that has produced all but one of the eight Emirates Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes) winners since 2008.
Gailo Chop (5th) and Happy Clapper (6th) are both out of the Cox Plate and are also both former winners of the old Mackinnon Stakes having saluted in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Another Weir-trained fancy, Gailo Chop won the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) prior to the Cox Plate where he defeated subsequent Melbourne Cup runner-up Johannes Vermeer.
Happy Clapper meanwhile has been disappointing in his two runs since winning Sydney’s Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) finishing second as the beaten odds-on favourite in Randwick’s Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) before the unplaced Cox Plate run.
Both gallopers are tipped to improve and sit as equal $7.50 chances in Emirates Stakes betting.
The other top fancy and early market mover is the Kiwi galloper Gingernuts ($6.50) back in Australia after plans to run in the Caulfield Cup were shelved following a weather-disrupted lead-up prep back across the Tasman.
See below for the full Emirates Stakes 2017 field, barriers, jockeys and latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Emirates Stakes Field & Betting
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