The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s Group 1 winning mare Espiona is the runner to beat in Saturday’s 2023 The Invitation race at Royal Randwick.
The $2 million The Invitation (1400m) for fillies and mares features a capacity field of invitees for the third edition of the set weights plus penalties clash on Spring Champion stakes Day.
Heading the latest The Invitation odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au is Group 1 Coolmore Classic winner over 1500m from the autumn, Espiona, at a short but still backable quote of $3.30.
Two back this classy Extreme Choice five-year-old was dominant second-up beating a good field in Rosehill’s Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) with 58kg.
She then contested the world’s richest turf race and was far from disgraced crossing a midfield seventh only 2.79 lengths off the winner Think About It in the $20 million The Everest (1200m).
Espiona was excellent there at big odds, is back against her own kind now, and she’ll relish the 1400m fourth-up and fit for the punters.
The favourite is drawn wider out in gate 10 but should be able to overcome the barrier on class alone and beat this field.
Two-time The Invitation winning hoop Kerrin McEvoy comes aboard Espiona on Saturday looking to make it a three-from-three sweep in the event to date.
Waller has three mares in this year’s The Invitation field with the top elect joined by stablemates Roots ($8.50) and Olentia ($26) drawn barriers four and seven respectively.
Group 2 winning Press Statement mare Roots is the more notable of the two being a Group 1 runner-up in the winter’s Tatt’s Tiara before a good run for fifth fresh only a length off Cepheus on October 7 in the $1.5 million Alan Brown Stakes (1400m).
Occupying the second line of The Invitation betting meanwhile at $3.90 as the predicted danger to Espiona is the Grahame Begg-trained Magic Time out in gate 11 with Tyler Schiller to ride.
The consistent Hellbent four-year-old has won four of her six starts to date including a strong lead-up victory in the Group 3 The Nivison (1200m) with notably less weight.
The James Cummings-trained Parisal donning the famous Godolphin Royal Blue is also well-supported in the markets at $7 to win for the second time this prep.
The four-year-old daughter of Astern has finished out of the top two just twice in her nine-start career and currently boasts four victories.
The latest of those was first-up here back in August’s Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1100m).
She went south next for a second in Caulfield’s Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) and was last seen running second to Magic Time in the Nivison.
The Luke Pepper-trained Opal Ridge ($8.50) completes the single-figure fancies in this year’s event.
Rubick four-year-old Opal Ridge is a two-time Randwick winner who was strong as a three-year-old in Brisbane’s winter carnival.
Her opening run of the spring was also eye-catching when second to Front Page here on The Everest Day in the $2 million The Kosciuszko (1200m) with improvement predicted.
2023 The Invitation Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||34913x0x40||ALCOHOL FREE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||13||59.5kg||114|
|2||0x6117x217||ESPIONA||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||10||59kg||111|
|3||44232110×8||ROYAL MERCHANT||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jason Collett||6||59kg||108|
|4||x320150x75||RUTHLESS DAME (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Sam Clipperton||14||59kg||108|
|5||1x145125x2||OPAL RIDGE||Luke Pepper||Dylan Gibbons (a)||3||59kg||103|
|6||x3410x52x5||ROOTS||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||4||58kg||107|
|7||11x13x51||MAGIC TIME||Grahame Begg||Tyler Schiller||11||58kg||101|
|8||7x1112x122||PARISAL||James Cummings||Regan Bayliss||2||58kg||99|
|9||14x11x1580||OLENTIA||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||7||58kg||94|
|10||127×574130||BANANA QUEEN||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Joshua Parr||8||58kg||88|
|11||112x614x12||AUSBRED FLIRT||Brad Widdup||Ms Rachel King||9||57kg||88|
|12||40x7903x53||DALCHINI||Lee & Cherie Curtis||Jay Ford||12||57kg||84|
|14e||47x20x66x9||RUSSIAN CONQUEST||Peter & Paul Snowden||5||57kg||80|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
THINK. IS THIS A BET YOU REALLY WANT TO PLACE?
For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au.
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2021 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.