The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The season’s gun three-year-old sprinters dominate betting on the Newmarket Handicap 2020 at HQ this ‘Super Saturday’ with returning Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Exceedance the narrow favourite.
One of two elite level features on the Flemington race card for Saturday, this season’s Group 1 $1.25 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) features a star-studded 13-horse field.
Drawn out in barrier 11 with Dwayne Dunn booked for the ride is the Hawkes Racing-trained Exceed And Excel colt Exceedance.
Last start winner of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at the same track and distance during November’s Melbourne Cup Carnival, Exceedance races fresh in the Newmarket Handicap looking to became just the second horse to win the race first-up in 100 years.
Redkirk Warrior (2017) broke the century long drought for his first Newmarket Handicap success three years ago, also winning the 2018 edition as the first back-to-back champion since Razor Sharp (1982-83).
Exceedance races in the Newmarket Handicap field without a lead-up trial, but the bookies are taking no chances as the youngster sits top of the markets at $4.80 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
“First-up here over 1200m isn’t easy. Historically, they just don’t go into this race first-up,” Dunn told Racenet this week.
“They generally have a run under their belt but he had a longer spring and didn’t have that long off but he has got a lot of work in him.
“He’s had three trials so he has done a lot of work for it first-up.
“His first one, the track was a bit firm for him and the second one here was great and then he trialled down the straight with no blinkers on.
“That was just a fitness trial and he went well enough.”
Hot on his heels and boasting the fitness edge is the Godolphin-raced third elect Bivouac ($5.50) drawn midfield in barrier seven with Glen Boss aboard.
Another three-year-old son of Exceed And Excel, Bivouc defeated Exceedance home back-to-back at Rosehill last September winning the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).
Third in both those races, Exceedance turned the tables in the Coolmore Stud Stakes however when Bivouac finished a quarter-length second down the straight.
The James Cummings-trained runner-up gets the chance to atone in the Newmarket Handicap having already raced once this prep when sixth in a close Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) finish at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Day.
Occupying the second line of Newmarket Handicap betting this season separating the two well-fancied colts is yet another Group 1 winning three-year-old, the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained filly Loving Gaby ($5).
Craig Williams rides the ultra-consistent daughter of I Am Invincible from barrier four on the weekend continuing his nice recent association with the filly.
Williams was aboard for her Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) win at The Valley on Cox Plate Eve last October and also partnered her for the brave second to Nature Strip in open-age company down the straight in the Group 1 VRC Classic (1200m).
Loving Gaby kicked off her autumn on February 15 in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) and finished an eye-catching third behind the shock winner Gytrash and dual The Everest champion Redzel (2nd).
Gytrash is currently at Newmarket Handicap odds of $8 to do the double, the Gordon Richards-trained Lope De Vega four-year-old undefeated at Flemington (3-3-0-0) leading into Saturday’s feature sprint.
The chestnut went to another level fresh in the Black Caviar Lightning but will have to dig deep carrying the topweight on Saturday second-up in the Newmarket.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies at $9.50 is then the Scott Brunton-trained Tasmanian raider The Inevitable drawn the outside barrier (13) and also racing fresh.
Brett Prebble rides the Dundeel four-year-old – a winner of eight of his 11 starts to date – who is two-from-three at Flemington and two-from-two over 1200m.
2020 Newmarket Handicap Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||113011x2x1||GYTRASH||Gordon Richards||Ben Melham||2||57kg||111|
|2||100x1336x2||ZOUTORI||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||8||55kg||107|
|3||110x4509x6||DESPATCH||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Jamie Kah||6||54.5kg||106|
|4||1118x1110x||THE INEVITABLE||Scott Brunton||Brett Prebble||13||54.5kg||106|
|5||1x121162x6||BIVOUAC||James Cummings||Glen Boss||7||54kg||110|
|6||13x1331x||EXCEEDANCE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||11||54kg||110|
|7||41259×1117||HALVORSEN||Robbie Griffiths||Andrew Mallyon||9||53kg||97|
|8||918×923320||MYSTYKO (NZ)||Trevor Rogers||Dean Holland||1||53kg||93|
|9||52x41011x7||TOFANE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Michael Dee||10||53kg||103|
|10||1272x229x0||TROPE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Michael Poy (a)||5||53kg||98|
|11||422x1212x3||LOVING GABY||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||4||52.5kg||111|
|12||75x2114x32||BANQUO||Danny O’Brien||Dean Yendall||3||51kg||78|
|13||211x1133x4||LIBERTINI||Anthony Cummings||Jye McNeil||12||51kg||100|
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