The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s dual Group 1 winning colt Home Affairs is narrow favourite to retain his unbeaten record at Flemington in the 2022 Newmarket Handicap field on ‘Super Saturday’ this weekend.
A near capacity field of 17 sprinters faces off in this year’s Group 1 $1.5 million Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and it is a tight betting battle at the top of the market.
Currently gun I Am Invincible three-year-old Home Affairs leads the Newmarket Handicap odds at $3.70 and easing through Ladbrokes.com.au after a wide barrier 16 draw.
He’s well-proven down the famous straight at Headquarters and is after his third Group 1 success at the track.
After defeating his fellow three-year-olds by a runaway three lengths from barrier 13 in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Home Affairs kicked off his autumn with an upset over stablemate Nature Strip in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
Nature Strip may have been beaten with excuses after a tardy start and luckless run, but Home Affairs was still first past the post with improvement to come second-up.
He strips fitter for the Newmarket and, despite going up to 56kg, looks a genuine hope getting back up to six furlongs with James McDonald continuing associations.
Waller also saddles-up his 2020 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner September Run, the now four-year-old Exceed And Excel mare a $26 outsider to win for the first time since that Derby Day triumph as a filly.
The danger following Home Affairs closely in Newmarket Handicap betting at $3.90 after firming notably in from his opening quote of $4.80 is the John O’Shea-trained Lost And Running.
Drawn mid-field with Hugh Bowman to ride, the consistent Per Incanto five-year-old comes into the classic having won eight of his 13 career starts to date.
He raced against the best last prep when fourth in the $15 million The Everest behind Nature Strip and second to Eduardo in the $1 million Classique Legend Stakes before his good win in the $1 million The Hunter over 1300m at Newcastle.
First-up Lost And Running enjoyed another Sydney victory in easier company when carrying 61kg to victory at Randwick in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).
Down to 56kg for the Newmarket Handicap, the market mover still needs to tick a few boxes going the other way in his Flemington debut.
Lost And Running is joined in the line-up by his returning stablemate Quantico ($17), the I Am Invincible five-year-old having won three straight last prep including the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1200m) at this track / distance on Melbourne Cup Day.
Despite the size of the field, no other runners are under double-figures for the win with the next best in betting being the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Artorius at $11.
Three-year-olds have won four of the past nine editions of the Newmarket, most recently Bivouac in 2020, and Artorious is the other top youngster taking on the seasoned sprinters along with the favourite.
The Flying Artie colt is looking to break a notable drought not having won since his Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) success in February of 2020.
His spring campaign was solid and somewhat frustrating for connections with a Golden Rose fourth, Caulfield Guineas third to Anamoe and Coolmore Stud Stakes third to Home Affairs.
He resumed at Caulfield on February 12 when just over two lengths back sixth behind Marine One in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m), but has improvement getting up to 1200m at HQ on Saturday.
The others most likely to score an upset according to the bookies include the Hawkes Racing-trained The Everest runner-up Masked Crusader ($13), smart mare Snapdancer ($15) in the outside alley for the Maher/Eustace stable chasing a third win on the trot and Swats That ($16) who ran second in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic last year.
2022 Newmarket Handicap Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||25x15126x5||MASKED CRUSADER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||13||57kg||114|
|2||2138x191x1||HOME AFFAIRS||Chris Waller||James McDonald||16||56kg||117|
|3||11x84421x1||LOST AND RUNNING (NZ)||John O’Shea||Hugh Bowman||9||56kg||112|
|4||140x4240x0||ZOUTORI||Mathew Ellerton||Damian Lane||1||55.5kg||111|
|5||2183x1321x||COUNT DE RUPEE||Robert & Luke Price||Brock Ryan||7||54kg||108|
|6||31514×1211||LEVANTE (NZ)||Ken & Bev Kelso||Michael Dee||10||53.5kg||111|
|7||702980×131||HALVORSEN||Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock||Dean Holland||11||52.5kg||103|
|8||14x2316x23||OXLEY ROAD||Peter G Moody||Blaike McDougall||15||52.5kg||101|
|9||0x153x80x5||POLAND||Michael Moroney||Michael Poy||14||52.5kg||94|
|10||11x0x4111x||QUANTICO||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||12||52.5kg||95|
|11||92201×4272||ROCH ’N’ HORSE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Patrick Moloney||3||52.5kg||98|
|12||048x37664x||SEPTEMBER RUN||Chris Waller||Ms Jamie Kah||8||52.5kg||107|
|13||x11339x211||SNAPDANCER||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Harry Coffey||17||52.5kg||103|
|14||358x8052x4||SWATS THAT||Leon & Troy Corstens||Craig Williams||6||52.5kg||109|
|15||5411313×37||THE ASTROLOGIST||Leon & Troy Corstens||Fred Kersley||4||52.5kg||104|
|16||16x22433x6||ARTORIUS||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Craig Newitt||2||51kg||107|
|17||x1641x6x31||FINANCE TYCOON||Danny O’Brien||Josh Richards (a)||5||50.5kg||96|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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