The Sportsman Weekend
Markets opened the wrong way
I WAS out going for one of those cliche long ‘lockdown’ morning walks with a mate a few hours before the first Final Field market in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes was declared.
Hold the phone, order more coffee.
Still All-In betting, but the market is completely upside down.
No danger in a ‘No Refund’ market because they are both running.
The great mare Verry Elleegant was around $3.80 give or take a pinch and Incentivise $2.50. It’s the wrong way around.
Spare me, the classic 2000m trip at weight-for-age with rain forecast for most of the 72-hour lead-up.
I don’t care how big wraps get for Incentivise, how is Verry Elleegant not favourite on a soft track?
Time to bet and keep betting.
Of course, by yesterday morning Verry Elleegant had tumbled into $2.30 favourite and Incentivise was out to $2.90.
She gets a little dourer each preparation but the spring ‘stepping stones’ through the Winx Stakes (1400m) and George Main (1600m) win where she was at her strongest through the line, are as good as ever.
And she carries a half kilo less than Incentivise thirdup at weight-for-age, perfect three weeks into the Cox Plate over 40m further.
Mind you, Verry Elleegant will need a tonne of speed up front and all the pressure in the world from 1000m if she intends running past Zaaki, but that’s for another day. Right now, she’s a Turnbull special.
In fact, Godolphin mare Colette ($9.50) is a bigger threat in the ground.
MY TURNBULL TIPS: 1. VERRY ELLEEGANT; 2. Colette; 3. Incentivise
Back at Randwick, the head is still wobbling and confused as to why Mo’unga – conqueror of Verry Elleegant two starts back in the Winx got out to around $8.50 for tomorrow’s Group 1 Epsom mile.
Strike me. Best horse in the race and regular pilot Tommy Berry is back on after his brave effort in the Group 1 Makybe Diva at Flemington.
Forget the talk he can’t give some handy ones around 6kg and beat them. We should race on a Soft 5/6 and that’s his best surface I’m convinced this is one of the weaker Epsom’s in a long time.
There are plenty who haven’t won for a long time and even then, it was in very moderate black-type company at best.
Some haven’t won anything more than a midweek Benchmark 72.
If Mo’unga is spot-on, the price is sensational, although there are two standout dangers.
Lightly raced four-year-old Private Eye ($8.00) is flying and can peak fourth-up over the mile, the same distance of course over which he powered home to win the Group 2 Queensland Guineas as a three-year-old.
Ex-Kiwi mare and last start Group 3 winner Atishu ($19.00) is also appealing fourth-up dropping down to a luxury 50.5kg and with 60 per cent winning strike rate from five starts in soft ground.
Frankel mare Hungry Heart ($9.00) is also going big, but she may need one more run.
MY EPSOM TIPS:
1. MO’UNGA; 2. Atishu; 3. Private Eye; 4. Hungry Heart
And in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) I’m staggered at the price of Harpo Marx ($18.00) after that luckless train wreck in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m).
Down on 54kg with regular pilot Rachel King back on, the six-year-old is serious ‘overs’ in a race with a stack of chances.
The other runner way over the mark is five-year-old 17. No Compromise ($16.00) who was also afforded little or no luck at Newcastle and drops down to a postage stamp 50kg.
MY METROPOLITAN TIPS:
1. HARPO MARX; 2. No Compromise; 3. She’s Ideel; 4. Entente