The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The punters are taking on the 10-time Group 1 winning favourite Melody Belle early in Missile Stakes 2020 betting for Saturday with the money coming for rival Eduardo in the Rosehill Gardens showdown.
Running as Rosehill Race 7 at 3:35pm (AEST), this season’s Group 2 $200,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) field is down to a dozen spring sprinters.
Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Hightail (3) is an early scratching, running instead in Melbourne’s Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap down the Flemington straight.
Updated Missile Stakes odds remain led by the easing Jamie Richards-trained favourite Melody Belle, the pride of New Zealand racing last season.
The brilliant daughter of Commands boasts 10 Group 1 wins to date including in Melbourne’s Empire Rose Stakes last November, and chases her first victory since on Saturday.
Despite her impressive resume that also includes a $5 million The All-Star Mile third and fourth only 1.4 lengths beaten in Randwick’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile from the autumn, Melody Belle is drifting in the markets for her first-up run in the Missile.
The six-year-old opened at $3.50 and is now out to $3.80 in the Missile Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au after drawing out in barrier 11, a nice price looking at her recent winning barrier trial at Kensington on July 31.
The drift comes after she was treated for a skin rash throughout the week.
Racing NSW vets however have cleared her to run with Melody Belle passing a fitness test ahead of her spring kick-off.
“The plan has always been to give her a run before the Winx (Stakes) and make sure she is hopefully 100 per cent for that race,” Richards told AAP.
“She’s had a nice exhibition gallop and a nice trial and she is going into the race in pretty good shape.”
The Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) runs at Randwick on August 22 and could serve as a nearly lead-up for Melody Belle into The Valley’s 100th edition of the Group 1 $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) on October 24.
“We’d like to try to end up in the Cox Plate but we’ve just got to work out how we can get to Melbourne with staff and all of that (due to COVID-19 restrictions),” Richards said.
“The plan is to have those first couple of runs and maybe one more, then work out what we do.”
The horse the punters are taking Melody Belle on with is Joe Pride’s veteran seven-year-old Eduardo, the Host gelding backed in from $6 right into $4.60 after drawing barrier two for jockey Nash Rawiller.
Eduardo boasts the fitness edge having won the July Sprint (1100m) at the track on July 25 in his first Rosehill assignment, and he comes back from 58.5kg that run to 56kg at set weights plus penalties on the weekend.
Another market firmer in from $8 to $7 is the Godolphin-raced Savatiano for last year’s winning trainer James Cummings (Alizee, 2019).
Drawn ideally in barrier five, jockey Rachel King is expected to have this talented Street Cry mare positive in the run from the gate on the weekend after Savatiano was sixth at Adelaide last start in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) back in early May.
Winner of Rosehill’s Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) in February and also second in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick in the autumn, she is a noted first-up performer (7:4-0-1) and presents as a danger off a winning Kensington trial late last month.
Rosehill is currently rated at Soft (7) and Cummings is hopeful the track remains the same for Saturday for Savatiano to perform at her best.
“She can be explosive first up and we are hoping the track conditions will allow her to put that talent on show,” Cummings said.
Cummings also saddles-up Thousand Guineas winner Flit in the Missile Stakes field, the four-year-old paying $5.50 to win first-up from the inside alley.
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