Last year’s seven-length champion Zaaki returns...
Money is coming for an upset in the Expressway Stakes 2020 on Saturday with the Bjorn Baker-trained mare Irithea a market mover in the weight-for-age feature.
Running at Royal Randwick having been transferred from Rosehill due to the Sydney heat wave, this season’s Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) field is down to nine runners following the early scratching of Special Reward (2).
Heading the Expressway Stakes betting at $2.35 is the defending champion, the James Cummings-trained Alizee who took out the event first-up last autumn at Rosehill.
Pre-field the five-year-old daughter of Sepoy was odds-on to go back-to-back in the Expressway Stakes.
A number of late entries to the race and the change of tracks has seen the price on Alizee ease out for her first run since the fourth behind Nature Strip down the Flemington straight in last November’s Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m).
Meanwhile, there has been a notable move on another mare in the mix with Irithea backed in from $15 to $12 in the latest Expressway Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The six-year-old daughter of Snitzel chases her first win since the Group 3 Hawkesbury Crown (1300m) in easier company last autumn.
She was disappointing in Group 1 company in Brisbane over the winter but looked improved last start at the Gold Coast when under a length back second behind Invincibella in the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies & Mares (1300m).
Irithea drops back to her pet distance in the Expressway Stakes (11:3-4-2) and presents as an each way chance according to the punters.
Following Alizee are two other single-figure hopefuls including the returning Chris Waller-trained The Golden Eagle winner Kolding ($4.20).
The Ocean Park four-year-old will be better for the run later in the autumn but demands respect having won three of his four Randwick starts including the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) last October.
Standout ($5.50) is the other runner the bookies are keeping safe in betting, trainer Gerald Ryan chasing his second in in three years following his 2018 success with Trapeze Artist.
Exceed And Excel colt Standout has his fifth start on Saturday looking four his fourth win and maiden Group victory following a last start second to Cosmic Force in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at the track and distance last October.
At a more generous quote paying $16 is Lope De Vega four-year-old Vegadaze who trainer Anthony Cummings believes can give his shorter-priced rivals a run for their money.
“He has proven himself at Group II level already against some Group 1 standard horses, so he is not lost at this level,” Cummings told Racenet this week.
“His ratings say he is probably placed at something a little bit easier, but he is going to make his way to this grade at some point.
“With the smaller nominations it looked like an opportunity. We were going to go to a high benchmark race next week, so he is ready to go.
“He is drawn to get a good run (from barrier two) and he is forward enough to be there and be competitive.
“His trials have been good leading so we thought we would give it ago.”
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