The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Darren Weir’s flying mare Quilista is favourite in the last at Royal Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ tipped to win the 2018 Sapphire Stakes.
Closing the bumper 10-race card on Saturday in Sydney as Randwick Race 10 at 5:05pm (AEST), this season’s Group 2 $300,000 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) has attracted a capacity field of fillies and mares.
Leading the latest Sapphire Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.60 and firming despite a wide barrier 14 (possibly into 12) draw for the lucrative sprint is Scandal Keeper four-year-old Quilista.
The Warrnambool-based mare chases a third win on the trot having won a Flemington race down the straight six by four lengths on March 17 before her Golden Slipper Day win at Rosehill in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m).
A gun over the distance (8:4-2-1), Quilista has her first Randwick run on the weekend with Damian Lane coming aboard for the ride.
Despite the capacity field just three other sprinters are under double-figures in the Sapphire Stakes betting markets this year including the close $5.50 second elect Sugar Bella.
She too has a double-digit draw jumping one on the inside of Quilista, Jason Collett retaining the ride on Kris Lees’ Not A Single Doubt four-year-old.
Lightly-raced having just her ninth career run on the weekend, Sugar Bella has won six of her eight starts so far including the Group 3 Wenona Girl Handicap (1200m) at Saturday’s track / distance on March 10.
She was last seen running second to Quilista in the Birthday Card Stakes on March 24 and is out to turn the tables this weekend back at Randwick where Sugar Bella boasts a perfect three-from-three record.
The other best in betting are the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Ravi ($8.50) and the Godolphin-raced Ghisoni ($9.50) who fared batter in the barriers with gates two and three respectively .
The always-honest Redoute’s Choice five-year-old Ravi comes off a fourth to Sugar Bella when under a length beaten in the Wenona Girl Handicap carrying 59kg.
She has had a short freshen-up since and will relish the weight drop back to 55kg this weekend with Kerrin McEvoy aboard again.
Hugh Bowman of Winx fame rides Lonhro five-year-old Ghisoni who is first-up having her maiden start since December last year.
Other standouts in the mix include Mick Price’s defending Sapphire Stakes winner Secret Agenda ($13) drawn the outside alley and carrying 58kg top weight and Chris Waller’s returning Magic Millions Fillies & Mares winner from January Invincibella ($11) who looks well weighted first-up.
See below for the full Sapphire Stakes 2018 field and betting markets for Royal Randwick, odds open online now through Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 Sapphire Stakes Field & Betting
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