The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Godolphin’s gun four-year-old Anamoe is tipped to extend his picket fence of Group 1 wins this weekend with the last start Cox Plate champion favourite for the 2022 Champions Stakes at Flemington.
Stakes Day brings to a close the action of the Melbourne Cup Carnival for another season and is headlined by a triple-shot of Group 1 racing.
The marquee event is the Group 1 $3 million VRC Champions Stakes (2000m), formerly run as the Mackinnon Stakes, which had drawn a star-studded line-up of the spring’s top weight-for-age performers.
Sitting top of the Champions Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au having won four straight Group 1 races this prep is the James Cummings-trained son of Street Boss, Anamoe, at a deservingly short $2.25.
Jockey James McDonald continues associations with the airborne entire whose career earnings are just shut of $10.5 million off his brilliant last start Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) win at The Valley.
Atoning for his narrow second in the same race last year, nothing was stopping him in 2022 and with superior wet track form and class on his side, he’s the one to beat again over the same distance.
The only query over the Champions Stakes favourite is Flemington, a track he sees for the first time on the weekend.
Narrow second elect in Champions Stakes betting at $3.90 to turn the tables on his last start conqueror is the brave Mick Price & Michael Kent Junior-trained Cox Plate runner-up I’m Thunderstruck.
The always honest Shocking five-year-old posted yet another Group 1 placing off a strong spring headlined by his own elite level win in the Makybe Diva Stakes over the mile here back in September.
He has twice been second to Anamoe leading-up to the Champions Stakes coming through the Caulfield Stakes – Cox Plate path.
I’m Thunderstruck with the Flemington experience on his side (3:2-1-0) gets his chance from gate eight on the weekend with Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra in the saddle.
Two other runners are at single figures for the win with market mover Zaaki ($7) and his younger stablemate, the fellow Annabel Neasham-trained Mo’unga ($9), considered the dangers.
Zaaki won this event last Cup Carnival as a consolation prize after being scratched from the Cox Plate field as the favourite the morning of.
The now eight-year-old has been excellent since and typically consistent this campaign with big runs in events including the Caulfield Stakes (3rd) and Cox Plate (4th) when only 0.4 lengths and 1.35 lengths beaten respectively.
2022 Champions Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||5226×21422||I’M THUNDERSTRUCK (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Mark Zahra||8||59kg||116|
|2||21213×1334||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Ms Jamie Kah||1||59kg||116|
|3||3x26x03285||MO’UNGA (NZ)||Annabel Neasham||Nash Rawiller||11||59kg||112|
|4||x00x25x820||MAXIMAL (GB)||John O’Shea||Ben Melham||9||59kg||105|
|5||6×13212042||HEZASHOCKA (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Damien Oliver||2||59kg||97|
|6||11546×7702||BANKERS CHOICE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||John Allen||7||59kg||100|
|7||31219×1111||ANAMOE||James Cummings||James McDonald||4||58.5kg||120|
|8||71324×5335||HINGED||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||3||56.5kg||107|
|9||5427×21121||MUSTANG VALLEY (NZ)||Andrew Forsman||Tim Clark||10||56.5kg||107|
|10||1×4322||ELLIPTICAL||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Craig Williams||6||51kg||104|
|11||513×541114||MR MAESTRO (NZ)||Andrew Forsman||Michael Dee||5||51kg||88|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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