The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Godolphin’s returning Caulfield Guineas winner from the spring, Golden Mile, is favourite to win the 2023 Expressway Stakes first-up in Sydney this weekend.
The countdown to the autumn majors begins in earnest on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens with the running of the weight-for-age Group 2 $250,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m).
After attracting minimal early entries and nominations extending, the field remains diminutive with the far from vintage edition of the sprint showdown attracting just eight final acceptors.
In on the 55kg lightweight is the James Cummings-trained Astern colt Golden Mile drawn a treat in age four with Sydney’s best James McDonald in the saddle.
Golden Mile dominates early Expressway Stakes betting markets at $2.10 and firming through Ladbrokes.com.au to kick off his new campaign in the same outstanding style he went out on.
One of the gun three-year-olds of the spring, the four-time winner was successful by over three lengths at this track and distance in last year’s Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m).
A Golden Rose fourth followed when only 1.5 lengths beaten by Jacquinot before his atonement came in Melbourne when successful over the mile in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Golden Mile then headed back to Sydney and finished on a high with a narrow victory in the $1 million Callander-Presnell (1600m).
His main challenger looking at the Expressway Stakes odds online comes from proven wet-track mare, Forbidden Love, who is at a current quote of $2.80.
The Michael Freedman-trained daughter of All Too Hard gets the rails run from barrier one fresh and has Kerrin McEvoy booked for the ride.
It’s been a long time between drinks for the three-time Group 1 winner who chases her first win since completing the Canterbury Stakes – George Ryder Stakes elite level double in March last year.
The other runner at single-figures to upset the favourite is the in-form Mariamia ($6) for Joe Pride.
The six-year-old Toronado mare is two-from-two at the Rosehill track and another noted Slow – Heavy track performer who was last seen winning here over 1100m on January 14 with a big weight.
Mariamia was one of the late entries into the race, and Pride rates her a genuine shot at the title despite not originally having the Group 2 target in sight.
“I wasn’t originally going to nominate because I thought it would come up a bit strong and heavy numbers but when I saw the nominations, I thought well she is up and ready to go,” he told News Corp this week.
“She has had a run back and won.
“I would say there’s a good chance she runs now as we are still looking at the same horses, there is just a bit more traffic in the race.
“She is a lovely mare and very easy to deal with.
“I think is in for a really good autumn preparation and there is another opportunity to potentially for her on Saturday.
“She is very versatile, wet or dry isn‘t a problem for her and she is very tough and sound.”
2023 Expressway Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||1462442164||NICOLINI VITO||Ben & JD Hayes||Chad Schofield||8||58.5kg||93|
|2||46x1626x06||MUCH MUCH BETTER||Sara Ryan||Tyler Schiller (a)||5||58.5kg||83|
|3||21x22131x3||PIZARRO||John O’Shea||Brenton Avdulla||3||58.5kg||81|
|4||1148x6806x||FORBIDDEN LOVE||Michael Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||1||56.5kg||111|
|5||63631443×1||MARIAMIA||Joseph Pride||Tim Clark||9||56.5kg||97|
|6||5x788x8240||VAN GIZ||Bjorn Baker||Ms Rachel King||7||56.5kg||75|
|7||55×4411414||KAHAWATY||Anthony Cummings||James Innes Jnr||2||56.5kg||70|
|8||20714×6634||TWICE AS SPECIAL||Jason Coyle||Ms Louise Day||6||56.5kg||65|
|9||1x21411x||GOLDEN MILE||James Cummings||James McDonald||4||55kg||102|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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