The money continues to roll in for Annabel...
The bookies are tipping the form out of the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes to stack-up on Saturday over the same track and distance with the winning mare Tofane and fifth-placed I’m Thunderstruck heading betting on the 2022 Futurity Stakes.
Neds Blue Diamond Stakes Day headlines the Melbourne racing action this weekend with a bumper three Group 1 races taking place including the $750,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) due to run as Race 6 at 3:45pm (AEDT).
Jumping from barrier three with Mark Zahra retaining the ride, the talented Ocean Park six-year-old was impressive first-up a fortnight back dominating the C.F. Orr Stakes with a one and a half-length victory.
She beat 11 rivals of a higher grade than she faces this weekend and presents fitter second-up with conditions to suit again on Saturday.
A genuine 1400m star (6:4-1-1), Tofane is the deserving and hard to beat favourite as she looks to complete the C.F. Orr – Futurity Stakes double for the first time since Black Heart Bart (2017).
Favourites have an excellent record in the Futurity with nine saluting for the punters from 2010-2021, as do the mares with both Alizee ($2.80 in 2019) and Probabeel ($3.50EF in 2021) beating the boys home as the best in betting.
As mentioned, the danger occupying the second line of Futurity Stakes betting at $3.70 is the Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained I’m Thunderstruck looking to turn the tables on his last start conqueror.
Winner of the $7.5 million The Golden Eagle in the spring in Sydney, the Kiwi-bred son of former Melbourne Cup champion Shocking was brave when fifth in the CF Orr results fresh.
He too presents fitter for the run and has previously beaten Tofane at elite level when they ran one-two here at Caulfield in last October’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Whether he can close the gap staying at 1400m is the query however, but he will get his chance from barrier seven in the small field with Jye McNeil riding once again.
Outside of the dominant duo a further three runners are at single-figure Futurity Stakes odds this autumn including Annabel Neasham’s $5 third elect Mo’unga in gate four who could prove the value.
Jamie Kah partners the gun Savabeel four-year-old who is looking to add to his excellent first-up record (4:3-0-1) and kick off his campaign with an upset.
Another horse with a very nice strike-rate over the 1400m with three wins and a third from four previous runs at the distance, Mo’unga was last seen running third behind stablemate Zaaki at Flemington in November’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
That followed on from a string of frustrating close calls including a Makybe Diva second, Epsom fifth and Cox Plate fourth.
His latest victory saw him defeat subsequent Melbourne Cup winning mare Verry Elleegant home when resuming last August in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) in Sydney, form Neasham is hoping the horse can replicate south of the border this weekend.
The rails-drawn Sierra Sue ($9) coming off a fourth in the CF Orr and early market mover Turaath ($9.50) one wider in two for trainer Maddie Raymond round out the hopes under $10 for the win.
This year’s Futurity Stakes winner automatically qualifies for a run in the $5 million The All-Star Mile (1600m) held back at its inaugural home of Flemington on March 19.
I’m Thunderstruck is already in having been among the Top 10 vote-getters, while connections of Tofane will give serious thought to the world’s richest mile race should she salute for the punters on Saturday.
2022 Futurity Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x1311311x5||I’M THUNDERSTRUCK (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Jye McNeil||7||59kg||112|
|2||x2875483x5||STREETS OF AVALON||Shane Nichols||Brett Prebble||6||59kg||108|
|3||107x12543x||MO’UNGA (NZ)||Annabel Neasham||Ms Jamie Kah||4||59kg||112|
|4||211x3427x1||TOFANE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Mark Zahra||3||57kg||115|
|5||04117100×4||SIERRA SUE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||John Allen||1||57kg||110|
|6||x321111x53||TURAATH (GB)||Maddie Raymond||Damian Lane||2||57kg||102|
|7||361110×4||EXTREME FLIGHT||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Damien Thornton||5||55.5kg||82|
|8||14x46129x7||MR MOZART||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Damien Oliver||8||55.5kg||83|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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