Just a few hours after the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham has ended (although a few of the night clubs will still be cranking!), the spotlight heads back south of the equator to Flemington and Super Saturday. Australia once again has an outstanding generation of sprinters and we may see a couple of these head to Royal Ascot in June.
After tasting success last week with Hallowed Crown, Mitch Fenton, @mitchfenton88 returns to the chair to preview the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap, a race steeped in tradition.
Lexus Newmarket Handicap
$1 million. 1200m. Group 1.
1550 local time, 0450 GMT
1. LANKAN RUPEE (58.5KG)
Bounced back to his brilliant best first up in the Lightning thrashing Brazen Beau and the undefeated ‘boom horse’ Deep Field, with arrogant ease.
Has been weighted with 58.5kg, which has only been carried to victory once in the past 50 + years. (Hay List – 2013).
He was beaten fair and square into third by Terravista and Chautauqua in the Gr1 Darley Classic at weight for age, during Cup week and he meets both those horses much worse off under these handicap conditions. Having said that his Lightning Stakes win showed he’s in much better form now then he was last Spring.
He’s earned the big weight through his brilliance and also shown his toughness time and time again. Prefer the two that beat him in the Darley Classic, purely based on the weight scale but it’s impossible to completely discount him, he’s a freak.
2. TERRAVISTA (56.5KG)
Comes here first up giving away a race fitness edge in the race to the other fancies Lankan Rupee and Chautauqua who have both had one run back this campaign, however he’s a first up “bomb” having won all 4 of his career first up attempts. No horse has won the Newmarket first-up since Polycrates in 1917!
He broke through at Gr1 level in the Spring winning the Darley Classic defeating Chautauqua and Lankan Rupee over this very same track and distance. The only difference this time around is the handicap conditions. That sees him very well weighted against Lankan Rupee – he meets him 2kg better for beating him, however he meet the narrow runner up Chautauqua 1kg worse off for beating him only a short half head.
One of the world’s best he’ll be very hard to beat from the inside gate.
3. CHAUTAUQUA (55.5KG)
Ran slashing overall and sectional times winning the Gr2 1100m Rubiton Stakes first up at Caulfield, when he looked underdone and as though he’d derive a great deal of improvement from that run. Class got him home.
He really stamped himself as a super star during the Spring when he twice thrashed quality opposition in stakes races down the Flemington straight before being very narrowly beaten in the Darley Classic after being sent out a short priced favourite. He meets Terravista, his conqueror in that race 1kg better at handicap and for me the slight pull in the weights will make all the difference.
He comes here more seasoned then he was in the Spring time and I think he’ll exact revenge for the Darley loss.
4. AERONAUTICAL (52KG)
Good honest sprinter who has been up for a long time without victory but has run a couple of decent sort of races in the process. Get’s in with the light weight but is outclassed at Gr1 level.
5. BRAZEN BEAU (52KG)
Won the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes against his own age group, over this track and trip in the Spring before resuming with a distant second in Lightning Stakes at Gr1 Open WFA - Ran very well despite being safely held by Lankan Rupee.
Very well suited dropping to Handicap conditions and with 52kg meets Lankan Rupee 3.5kg better off than what he did in the Lightning. He’ll also be better suited by the rise to 1200m.
Should be very competitive and definitely isn’t with a hope.
6. DRIEFONTEIN (52KG)
Ran well behind Deep Field here in a Gr3 race during the Cup Carnival. That form can be lined up through the Lightning when Deep Field was well beaten.
Will lead most likely but on the evidence seen she’ll find this a bit too strong.
7. LORD OF THE SKY (52KG)
Speedy customer but well and truly outclassed in this.
8. WATERMANS BAY (52KG)
Terrific second in the Winterbottom in Perth late last year, narrowly beaten. Was ok in the Lightning and will definitely be better off over the 1200m but I doubt he has the class to match up with the big guns here.
9. DELECTATION (50KG)
Has been competitive in 3yo grade including a second behind stablemate Brazen Beau in the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over this track and trip during the Spring.
Carries the proverbial ‘postage stamp’ but I don’t think he’s up to this level just yet at this stage of his career.
Very bullish on Chatuaqua, and for the exotic, taking the trifecta 3 - 1,2,5 boxed for 500% ($30).