The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Gun Godolphin-raced mare Alizee is tipped to return to winning form second-up on Saturday leading the all-in Apollo Stakes 2020 odds on the nominated gallopers for the Randwick clash.
Racing NSW received 14 early entries for this season’s Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m), a race dominated in recent years by the trio of wins by the world’s best mare Winx (2016, 2017, 2019).
With Winx now in the breeding barn the weight-for-age feature has been opened up and the bookies are tipping five-year-old Alizee as the one to beat in 2020.
The daughter of Sepoy is just shy of $3 million in prize money thanks to an outstanding career to date highlighted by three Group 1 wins.
She hasn’t won since her first-up success in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) in August last year however so is out to break a notable winning drought this weekend.
First-up Alizee ran one and a half lengths second as the beaten odds-on favourite behind speedy three-year-old Standout in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m).
Second-up, fitter for the run and getting up to 1400m she now leads the pre-field Apollo Stakes odds at $3.20 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
It is a bunched top-half of the market following Alizee with three other Apollo Stakes nominees all equal at $5 on the second line of betting.
John Thompson’s 1400m specialist Dreamforce (10:6-2-1), veteran nine-year-old Happy Clapper and Chris Waller’s Group 1 winning mare Verry Elleegant are tipped the dangers.
Happy Clapper has finished top three in an incredible 12 Group 1 races over his career including three victories at elite level.
Proving his evergreen status in the spring the Patrick Webster-trained son of Teofilo beat a quality field in the Group 3 $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) on the back of a third to Avilius in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Webster remains hopeful Happy Clapper can continue to race well this season, which could be his last before a well-deserved retirement, and his hoping the heavy rainfall begins to clear before race day.
“He will run,” Webster told AAP.
“I’m not keen on him having a hard run first-up in the wet but he has to start in the Apollo because it fits in with his program going ahead to the Chipping Norton.
“He is fit and well and his two trials have been good so I think he’s ready to go.”
Waller meanwhile chases his fifth straight win in the Apollo Stakes having won the three with Winx along with the 2018 success of Endless Drama when the mighty mare missed the first-up run due to the unavailability of her regular rider Hugh Bowman.
This year Waller has four Apollo Stakes entries led by Verry Elleegant, the Zed four-year-old racing for the first time since her 12th to Lys Gracieux in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last October.
2020 Apollo Stakes Nominations
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x2284x231x||HAPPY CLAPPER||G||9||Patrick Webster||1||59kg||118|
|4||2111x9410x||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||M||4||Chris Waller||4||57kg||111|
|5||211112617x||COME PLAY WITH ME||G||5||Chris Waller||5||59kg||109|
|6||124x03374x||LIFE LESS ORDINARY (IRE)||G||8||Chris Waller||6||59kg||108|
|8||x16621816x||HUSH WRITER (JPN)||G||5||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||8||59kg||105|
|9||511x65800x||ANGEL OF TRUTH||G||4||Gwenda Markwell||9||59kg||101|
|10||44×6012325||GLENALL||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||10||59kg||100|
|11||2x85403x71||CRADLE MOUNTAIN||G||6||Clare Cunningham||11||59kg||98|
|12||x322x2311x||MASTER OF WINE (GER)||G||5||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||12||59kg||96|
|14||23x22122x||BRANDENBURG (NZ)||C||3||John Sargent||14||55.5kg||81|
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