The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The spring’s $15 million The Everest winner Giga Kick is back this weekend racing first-up in a small field at Royal Randwick in the 2023 Challenge Stakes.
The Group 2 $500,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) serves as one of the key support acts on Saturday’s bumper 10-race Randwick Guineas Day card and features just nine sprinters.
Among the top chances in gate four with Craig Williams to ride is the Clayton Douglas-trained son of Scissor Kick Giga Kick getting his autumn underway.
A winner of five of his six starts to date the classy chestnut is best known for his narrow upset at 20/1 in The Everest at Randwick over the 1200m last October.
At his latest start he finished under a length third down the Flemington straight when fifth to Roch ‘N’ Horse in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m).
Giga Kicked looked good in a recent trial behind Coolangatta and now heads Challenge Stakes betting at $2.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au having been well supported early.
He is out to be the first three-year-old Challenge Stakes winner since the filly English (2016).
In a wide-open Challenge Stakes market, a further four runners are under double-figures for the win including the Hawkes Racing-trained Remarque ($4.20) in gate six with Brenton Avdulla riding.
The consistent Snitzel four-year-old has the fitness edge of his resuming rivals and has a strong record at the Randwick track (5:2-0-1).
He comes off a win at the track and distance carrying 62kg to victory on February 4 and will appreciate coming back to 58.5kg here at weight-for-age as he rises notably in grade.
Looking to become the third three-time Challenge Stakes winner in history is the dual defending champion Eduardo at $5.
Razor Sharp (1982-84) and At Sea (1985-87) both won three straight editions of the event and Joe Pride’s veteran nine-year-old Eduardo is looking to join them.
The old marvel boasts a 50% winning strike-rate from eight previous 1000m runs and is looking for his first success since carting 60.5kg to victory first-up in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) here in September last year.
He has work to do however if he is to turn the table on Giga Kick after running a disappointing second last (11th of 12th) in last year’s The Everest.
Eduardo finished sixth last time out behind Private Eye in the $3 million Winners Stakes (1300m) in late October and come into the Challenge Stakes off two good lead-up Randwick trials in February.
The James Cummings-trained Paulele is also first-up and being kept safe in betting at Challenge Stakes odds of $6.
James McDonald is in typically top form this season and partners the Godolphin-raced Dawn Approach four-year-old.
Paulele is a genuine Randwick specialist (7:5-0-2) and is back in Sydney having last been seen overcoming a wide alley in Perth’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) to win the spring last November.
The early Challenge Stakes market mover rounding out the hopes under $10 for the win is then the Grahame Begg-trained Passive Aggressive ($12 into $8.50).
The four-year-old Fastnet Rock mare is only lightly-raced having won four of her five career starts.
She rises in class and races for the first time since her close fourth to Chain Of Lightning in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) in August last year.
2023 Challenge Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x312x1406x||EDUARDO||Joseph Pride||Nash Rawiller||8||58.5kg||117|
|2||322x61801x||PAULELE||James Cummings||James McDonald||5||58.5kg||112|
|3||0x55x118x1||REMARQUE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Brenton Avdulla||6||58.5kg||102|
|4||0x709702x8||SHELBY SIXTYSIX||Danny Williams||Robbie Dolan||7||58.5kg||95|
|5||8073×45121||THE BOPPER||Kris Lees||Zac Purton||1||58.5kg||93|
|6||2424x126x7||KEY LARGO||Bryce Heys||Tyler Schiller (a)||2||58.5kg||82|
|7||1111x4x||PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE||Grahame Begg||Jordan Childs||9||56.5kg||90|
|8||1x11115x||GIGA KICK||Clayton Douglas||Craig Williams||4||56kg||110|
|9||475×112125||SACRED SATONO (NZ)||Bruce Wallace & Grant Cooksley||Chad Schofield||3||56kg||88|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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