The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The warm-up to the weekend’s Group 1 racing action takes place at Newcastle Racecourse this afternoon with a smart field of middle-distance gallopers facing off in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap 2018 field.
Set to run as Race 6 at 4:55pm (AEDT), the line-up for this season’s Group 3 $150,000 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) is down to 10 after the early scratching of the Chris Waller-trained Life Less Ordinary (9).
Heading the updated Newcastle Newmarket Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.50 for the win is the in-form Lanciato from the Warwick Farm stables of Mark Newnham.
The ultra-consistent Per Incanto five-year-old has won four of his past five starts including back-to-back Sydney wins in January.
He has been freshened-up since the latest, a three-quarter length victory over subsequent Chipping Norton Stakes runner-up behind Winx – Prized Icon – in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m).
A gun over the 1400m with four wins, two seconds and a third from eight starts at the distance, Lanciato is well-weighted on 54kg and jumps from barrier six with Rachel King aboard the livewire hope.
Close second favourite in Newcastle Newmarket Handicap betting for this afternoon at a current quote of $4 is the early market mover Special Missile who has been smashed by the punters after opening at $7 for the win.
Jumping from a favourable barrier two draw with gun hoop Brenton Avdulla in the saddle, John Thompson’s Smart Missile four-year-old won five straight races last season before his fourth in September’s Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at the Newcastle track.
He races for the first time since with the benefit of two lead-up trials, the latest a three and a half-length romp home in a 1200m Randwick hit-out on February 27.
Third pick at $4.20, backed right in from $6, is the remaining Waller runner Mister Sea Wolf.
Returning for the first time since mid-December, the imported gelding was last seen running under a length away fifth to Crack Me Up in Randwick’s Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) in a blanket finish.
A gun fresh, Mister Sea Wolf has an imposing first-up record of three wins, two seconds and a third from seven resuming runs that he will be out to add to this afternoon.
The Villiers Stakes form meanwhile was franked on March 3 when the winner Crack Me Up came out to score a first-up upset in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on way to the Doncaster Mile.
Rounding out the single-figure hopes are stablemates Artlee ($7.50) and the 58kg top weight Sound Proposition ($9.50) drawn the rails with Hugh Bowman booked for the ride.
Local horseman Kris Lees saddles-up Excellent Art seven-year-old Artlee, the veteran only lightly-raced for his age having start number 19 in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap field.
Artlee has had only one previous start at Newcastle, which he won, and he is another Villiers Stakes graduate (8th) looking to further frank that form.
Sound Proposition meanwhile is also Lees-trained, the Savabeel six-year-old last seen finishing fourth to Lucky Hussler in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at The Valley on Cox Plate Day.
A consistent performer who was runner-up here in the Cameron Handicap last spring, Sound Proposition gives the weight away but is deserving of the kilos and still shapes-up as a competitive chance.
Check out the full Newcastle Newmarket Handicap 2018 field and betting odds below before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to lock in your tips on the Group 3 this afternoon at the right price.
2018 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap Field & Odds
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