The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Gun Kiwi galloper Te Akau Shark kicks off his spring bid down under heading towards the Epsom Handicap next month via a run as the punters’ pick in Saturday’s Tramway Stakes 2019 at Royal Randwick.
The Rip Van Winkle five-year-old has won five of his seven career starts to date and has his maiden run on Aussie turf on Chelmsford Stakes Day in the group 2 $200,000 Harvey Norman Tramway Stakes (1400m).
Prepared across the Tasman by star Matamata horseman Jamie Richards, Te Akau Shark was last seen resuming at Te Rapa on August 17 in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m).
Over the unsuitably short sprint distance, the up-and-comer flew home late producing blistering late sectionals and an impressive turn of foot to run an eye-catching second behind Endless Drama.
That run lost him few admirers and the bookies are taking no chances with him getting up over 1400m, a distance he is two-from-two over, in the Tramway Stakes.
The latest Tramway Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have Te Akau Shark at $2.70 for the win from gate 10 with ace hoop James McDonald – fresh off his Wyong Gold Cup win on Friday – booked for the ride.
The major spring assignment for Te Akau Shark is a return to Randwick on October 5 for the Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m), for which he’s the $4.80 favourite in futures betting ahead of the Tramway.
The Tramway Stakes field is down to 13 runners after the early withdrawal of Chris Waller’s perennial placegetter Tom Melbourne (13) who was second in the race last year.
Waller still has a stranglehold over the race numbers-wise with eight remaining runners chasing back-to-back victories after his success with Comin’ Through (2018) last spring.
The best fancied of the Waller contingent taking on the New Zealander is returning Ocean Park four-year-old Kolding, also Kiwi-bred.
The gelding was on fire last campaign winning his last four on the trot including the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) in early June.
He’s trialled twice ahead of his first-up run with Hugh Bowman booked to ride the $8 shot from gate five.
The main danger according to the bookies occupying the second line of Tramway betting at $4.80 and firming is Dreamforce.
John Thompson’s market mover is a Randwick specialist boasting four wins and a second from eight runs at the track.
The Fastnet Rock seven-year-old is having his first run since a second to Brutal in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in the autumn, which followed a third to Winx in the George Ryder and earlier Group 3 Randwick win over 1300m.
Still lightly-raced for his age, Dreamforce has start number 26 in the Tramway Stakes and also has an outstanding record fresh (8:3-2-1) and with jockey Nash Rawiller aboard he looks a genuine chance at upsetting the favourite.
The other single-figure hopes in the Tramway Stakes odds are Waller’s six-year-old mare Eckstein ($8) and the Kris Lees-trained Winx Stakes third placegetter last time out Invincible Gem ($9.50).
The 2019 Harvey Norman Tramway Stakes is set to run as Randwick Race 8 at 4:30pm (AEST) as the penultimate event on the Saturday race card in Sydney.
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