There simply isn’t a better time of year for racing fans and the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival has already produced some truly memorable moments.
With the season’s major races now well and truly within sight, here are five horses to watch this Spring!
Targeting: Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup
Six-year-old Finche has been set for the Cups and would not look out of place in the winner’s stall for either.
It is often the case that it takes a few preparations for a
European stayer to really find their best form in Australia, but that has
certainly not been the case with this classy son of Frankel.
Finche debuted for Chris Waller with a tough effort to finish third in the Geelong Cup last spring, before producing one of the runs of the race to finish fourth in the Race That Stops a Nation.
His resuming run in the Chelmsford Stakes this time in was about as good as a fifth placing could be, while he has since put the writing on the wall by winning the Kingston Town Stakes and finishing a close second in the Turnbull Stakes.
He is ready to peak in condition for the 2019 Caulfield Cup, while the two miles of the Melbourne Cup will also arrive at the perfect moment.
At publish, Finche is the $7.50 favourite in early 2019 Caulfield Cup betting and the $8.50 favourite in the Melbourne Cup all-in market.
Targeting: Ladbrokes Cox Plate
If there’s one thing that Australia loves, it’s an underdog
story, and there simply isn’t a better one currently playing out than that of
Lot 43 at the 2017 Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling Sale
fell under the hammer for a measly $11,000, and there is no way that anyone
could have know what would be to follow.
The facts and figures returned by this four-year-old daughter of the unheralded sire Needs Further speak for themselves. 16 races, 11 wins, one Group 1 and the inaugural All-Star Mile crown, for more than $3.5 million in prize money.
A horse has not responded so well to a continually raising
bar in a long time. Her incredible progression from Hobart maiden to a
Ladbrokes Cox Plate campaign and favouritism is the stuff of legend, and we are
but a fortnight away from seeing what she can achieve in one the world’s
premiere weight-for-age contests.
The emergence of Japanese raider Lys Gracieux, as well as the ever-dangerous Avilius have since relegated Mystic Journey to the third line of Ladbrokes Cox Plate betting and at publish she stands as an $8 shot.
Targeting: Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas
Veteran trainer Leon Macdonald has enjoyed an excellent career
travelling champion horses from South Australia to pick off the biggest prizes
in Australian racing, and there is little doubt that he has unearthed another
star in the form of three-year-old colt Dalasan.
Macdonald has not been coy in admitting that he saw potential
in the son of Dalakhani from the moment he laid eyes on him, but his meteoric
rise to prominence has surely exceeded all expectations.
Dalasan has recorded four wins and two second placings from his six career starts and has enjoyed a near-perfect campaign in the lead-up to his Spring Carnival target – the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas.
He resumed this time for an impressive win in the Spring Stakes, beating home the likes of subsequent Group 1 champion Scales Of Justice, while he clearly did not enjoy racing down the Flemington straight in the Danehill Stakes but still won.
So is the wrap around this horse, that he has all but drawn the carpark for the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas, but maintains favouritism in the market.
Santa Ana Lane
Targeting: The Everest
Santa Ana Lane has been the best sprinter in Australia for
several seasons now – there is no debate.
The son of Lope De Vega was a work in progress for the Freedmans during the early stages of his career. He showed glimpses of talent but raced greenly and couldn’t quite put it all together on raceday. Come the 2017 Spring Carnival, however, and we finally got a preview has to what he could do when he stormed home to win the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes; first at the highest level.
His 2018 campaign was one for the history books. Consecutive
wins in The Goodwood and Stradbroke Handicap were franked with a win in the
Darley Classic in spring, while he returned to the track in autumn this year in
similarly pleasing condition; adding the TJ Smith Stakes to his mantle.
He is a horse that has typically needed a run to be competitive, but his first-up effort this time to finish a nose behind the fit Sunlight in the Gilgai Stakes was simply outstanding, and he looks in for another enormous preparation.
He is the $4.50 favourite in early betting for The Everest.
Targeting: Ladbrokes Cox Plate
Godolphin has a long way since James Cummings took the helm,
but if there is one thing that the major conglomerate has always been good at
doing, it’s selecting the right European horses for a transition to Australia.
Avilius is the perfect example. The son of Pivotal simply
does not know how to run a bad race and he was clearly going to be a star from
the moment he first stepped out at Randwick.
Barring Winx, his autumn preparation this year was as good
as any, highlighted by wins in the Ranvet Stakes and the Tancred. He is a horse
that is always competitive but does tend to improve with each start and as he
gets out in trip.
We saw him back to his blistering best when he put a strong field to the sword in the George Main three weeks ago, and he is the resounding favourite in betting for Saturday’s talent-rich Ladbrokes Stakes.
He is perched on the second line of Ladbrokes Cox Plate betting at odds of $5.50. Pending his performance, the Melbourne Cup remains an option and there is $51 about him in early betting.