Newcastle’s Kris Lees will chase his maiden...
Gerald Ryan’s multiple Group 2 winner Deploy kicks off his autumn campaign that is aimed at a possible TJ Smith Stakes assignment first-up as the favourite in Saturday’s Southern Cross Stakes 2018 field.
A key support act on the Apollo Stakes Day card at Royal Randwick, this year’s Group 3 $150,000 ACJC Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) runs as Race 4 at 3:10pm (AEDT) and features a nine-horse field.
Leading early Southern Cross Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $2.90 to salute first-up is Fastnet Rock five-year-old Deploy.
The gelding saluted in back-to-back Sydney races last spring including his impressive four length effort over dual Group 1 winning mare Egg Tart in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill before a last start ninth to Redzel in the $10 million The Everest (1200m).
He has trialled since when fourth to The Everest winner Redzel, who also resumes on Saturday in Melbourne’s Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington, in a 1000m Warwick Farm hit-out on February 5.
Deploy has excellent form at the Randwick track (5:3-1-0) and boasts a 50% winning strike rate over the distance (8:4-1-0), but is heavily weighted with 59.5kg to carry from gate three with Tye Angland aboard.
Ryan has the sprinter nominated for a number of ‘The Championships’ races back at Randwick in April including the Group 1 $2 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) that Deploy pays $34 in futures markets to win.
It is an open edition of the Southern Cross Stakes this autumn with a further four runners under $10 for the win including the $4.20 second elect and 60.5kg top weight Clearly Innocent.
Drawn one on the outside of Deploy in gate four, the Kris Lees-trained Not A Single Doubt six-year-old was last seen finishing under three lengths back fifth to Redzel in Flemington’s Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) in November.
He chases his first win since the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) in the wet at Eagle Farm last winter, which he backed-up from to run third to Impending in Doomben’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m).
Saturday Clearly Innocent faces a much easier class of rivals to that he faced late in the spring, and despite giving the weight away is considered a livewire hope after his first-up third to In Her Time at the track and distance in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) last time in.
The other best in betting are Dothraki and Kaepernick at $5.50 each, before Boss Lane ($9.50) rounds out the single-figure fancies.
Peter & Paul Snowden saddle-up Mossman seven-year-old Dothraki from barrier five, the veteran out to improve on his seventh when four lengths beaten by Viddora in the $1 million Magic Millions Sprint (1200m) at the Gold Coast in mid-January.
The Southern Cross Stakes marks his 42nd career start and he chases just his seventh win, but has form around Deploy having run second to Saturday’s favourite in the Group 2 Moreton Cup (1200m) in Brisbane last winter.
Kaepernick represents former Godolphin trainer John O’Shea, the son of Fastnet Rock also a graduate out of the Magic Millions Sprint having run fourth only two and a half lengths off the winning mare.
Boss Lane meanwhile is Ron Quinton-trained and set to enjoy the drop back to 57kg after carrying 59.5kg to a brave second behind Memes last month in the Summer Sprint (1000m).
2018 Southern Cross Stakes Field & Odds
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