The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Paul Preusker’s Melbourne Cup favourite Surprise Baby kicks off his second campaign towards the ‘race that stops a nation’ as the post-acceptance favourite in 2020 Ladbrokes Feehan Stakes betting at The Valley.
Just nine final acceptances were taken for Saturday’s Group 2 $250,000 Ladbrokes Feehan Stakes (1600m), which offers the winner a ballot free ride into the Group 1 $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) in October.
Despite the small numbers, it is shaping up as a top-class edition of the John F. Feehan Stakes race with some varied and intriguing form lines to follow.
First-up in barrier seven, Surprise Baby races for the first time since his eye-catching fifth behind Vow And Declare in last November’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Jockey Craig Williams rode the Melbourne Cup winner to victory that day and he is aboard Surprise Baby this weekend in the Feehan.
A son of 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, Surprise Baby races at The Valley for the first time since his fourth to Homesman in the same race 12 months ago.
Lightly-raced with just the two runs since, he presents a livewire chance on the weekend and is priced accordingly sitting top of the Feehan Stakes odds at $3.20 through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
In a wide-open Ladbrokes Feehan Stakes betting market, a further four runners are also under $10 for the win including the $4 second elect Harbour Views.
The always-honest Le Havre gelding has had just 10 career starts to date for a consistent record of six wins and three minor placings and still looks on the improve as he faces his acid test here.
Occupying the third line of betting is the early market mover Sircconi ($8.50 into $6) who recently ran second in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes for Nick Ryan, who also saddles-up the in-form Mahamedeis ($10) who has a great Moonee Valley record including back-to-back VOBIS Gold Stayers titles.
The Grant & Alana Williams-trained $5 million All-Star Mile winner Regal Power ($7) is looking to return to his best third-up with William Pike aboard from the outside alley in the Feehan.
Perth’s Group 1 Railway Stakes winner, he is down notably in grade and presents rock-hard fit on the short seven-day back-up off a disappointing Group 1 Memsie Stakes run.
Formerly with the same stable in WA, Coming Around has been in top form since transferring to Brent Stanley in country Victoria and rounds out the single-figure hopes at $8.50.
Also in the mix are Futurity Stakes winner Streets Of Avalon ($13) after his first win at the distance, former Cox Plate placegetter Humidor ($21) now with Chris Waller and the roughie hope Exasperate ($34) having his debut run at Moonee Valley.
2020 Ladbrokes Feehan Stakes Field
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||05496x085x||HUMIDOR (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damian Lane||1||59kg||106|
|2||161x421x90||REGAL POWER||Grant & Alana Williams||William Pike||9||59kg||112|
|3||9x3210x270||STREETS OF AVALON||Shane Nichols||Ben Melham||5||59kg||108|
|4||14132x415x||SURPRISE BABY (NZ)||Paul Preusker||Craig Williams||7||59kg||108|
|5||x093214811||MAHAMEDEIS||Nick Ryan||Rhys McLeod||6||59kg||101|
|6||5350221722||SIRCCONI||Nick Ryan||Daniel Stackhouse||4||59kg||100|
|7||33501211×3||EXASPERATE||Matthew Brown||Brian Higgins||8||59kg||90|
|8||x112x3314x||HARBOUR VIEWS (FR)||Matthew Williams||John Allen||2||59kg||94|
|9||5x6111x212||COMING AROUND||Brent Stanley||Craig Newitt||3||59kg||90|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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