Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
The reigning champion Redkirk Warrior heads a 15-horse 2018 Newmarket Handicap field on Super Saturday at Flemington Racecourse this weekend in Melbourne.
One of a bumper five final acceptances for the sprint classic for the Lindsay Park stable, Redkirk Warrior has suffered an early blow drawing the outside barrier (15) in the Group 1 $1.25 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
A light-weight in the race last Melbourne Festival of Racing, the former Hong Kong galloper became the maiden first-up Newmarket Handicap winner in 100 years.
This year the seven-year-old returns looking for successive trophies in the autumn classic for the first time since Razor Sharp (1982-83) but needs to do it from the wide alley with the 57.5kg top weight.
Redkirk Warrior, to be ridden by regular hoop Regan Bayliss, put in a big first-up trial for the title defence upsetting Redzel for the narrow win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
Brazen Beau (2nd in 2015) was the last Newmarket Handicap winner to come off a lead-up in that short-distance sprint, while Black Caviar (2011) was the last to do the double Redkirk Warrior chases on Saturday.
The gelding has a three-from-four record at Flemington Racecourse and is three-from-five second-up, but is out to join Toledo (2001) as the only other seven-year-old Newmarket Handicap winner from the past 30 years.
At the opposite end of the age scale is the current favourite in updated Newmarket Handicap betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, the Aaron Purcell-trained Merchant Navy.
The three-year-old Fastnet Rock colt is out to be the fifth of his age to win since 2008 and the first since the aforementioned Brazen Beau.
Merchant Navy, to be ridden by Chad Schofield, comes off a lead-up third from February 10 at Caulfield behind Super Cash when only a quarter-length beaten first-up.
In his other most recent run from VRC Derby Day the bay won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at the Newmarket Handicap track and distance.
This weekend the gun youngster looks to retain his undefeated record at Flemington (2:2-0-0) and flawless 1200m record (3:3-0-0) getting up to his pet distance and dropping from 55.5kg to only 52kg.
Merchant Navy also drew well in the Newmarket Handicap barriers with gate four, which produced Redkirk Warrior for his success last year.
Also coming up trumps with a nice barrier two draw with globetrotting hoop Craig Williams booked for the ride is the Darren Weir-trained Japanese import Brave Smash.
Weir has two runners in the Newmarket Handicap field with Ken’s Dream in gate eight and Brave Smash, the latter one of the single-figure fancies to win.
Carrying the 56.5kg second top weight behind Redkirk Warrior, Tosen Phantom five-year-old Brave Smash is down in distance after a last start Caulfield win in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on February 24.
Third in the spring’s The Everest (1200m) in Sydney over this distance, Brave Smash needs to break a notable hoodoo to succeed with Miss Pennymoney (2nd in 2000) the last Futurity Stakes graduate to win the Newmarket Handicap next-up.
Other standouts in the mix include Rich Charm (5) who is undefeated at the track and distance and well-weighted with only 52.5kg, Michael Kent’s speedy Sebring six-year-old Supdio (14) who boasts four wins from six starts at the track and the Lindsay Park-trained Blue Diamond winning filly from last autumn Catchy (9) on the 50kg minimum.
2018 Newmarket Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 7 (3:15pm) – 10/03/2018
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x105x100x1||REDKIRK WARRIOR (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss||15||57.5kg||114|
|2||4x2123x531||BRAVE SMASH (JPN)||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||2||56.5kg||112|
|3||15x66x1650||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||TBA||1||52.5kg||104|
|4||4111x411x4||RICH CHARM||Udyta Clarke||Patrick Moloney||5||52.5kg||104|
|5||11x43765x5||ROCK MAGIC||Chris Gangemi||Damian Lane||6||52.5kg||104|
|6||3x930x15x4||SUPIDO||Michael Kent||Beau Mertens||14||52.5kg||104|
|7||1306x13x14||THRONUM||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Dee||7||52.5kg||104|
|8||311900821x||FASTNET TEMPEST (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Ben Allen (a)||10||52kg||98|
|9||75537×5141||KEN’S DREAM||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||8||52kg||95|
|10||1351x30x32||LUCKY LIBERTY||Henry Dwyer||Chris Parnham||13||52kg||90|
|11||111x101x3||MERCHANT NAVY||Aaron Purcell||Chad Schofield||4||52kg||108|
|12||x1449729x3||MISSROCK||Robbie Laing||Craig Newitt||11||52kg||106|
|13||x22833005x||SO SI BON||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||12||52kg||95|
|14||12x2316x14||BOOKER||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Ben Thompson (a)||3||50kg||102|
|15||10x21330x6||CATCHY||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Cory Parish||9||50kg||102|
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