Just nine runners have been confirmed to take their places in this weekend’s Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse, offering punters excellent value from a betting standpoint and several key opportunities to place a winning bet.
Having returned to the track in perfect form this year, the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee has understandably opened as and maintained status as clear favourite for success in the 2014 McEwen Stakes, currently available at odds of $1.26, ahead of Eloping ($8.50), Unpretentious ($11) and Cauthen ($16) at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Will Lankan Rupee secure another scintillating victory, or will one of his talented rivals chalk up the weekend’s biggest upset?
Lankan Rupee ($1.26)
Without doubt Australia’s standout racehorse of 2014 so-far, Lankan Rupee has claimed a perfect record of four wins from as many starts and is almost a certainty to win upon his racing resumption in the 2014 McEwen Stakes. Charging home to win the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) by close to four lengths first-up on February 8th, the Redoute’s Choice gelding laid his claims as horse of the year when claiming all of the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) back-to-back over a memorable autumn preparation. Charged with over the wide barrier 9, punters may find value in tipping Lankan Rupee to win the McEwen Stakes and two other runners to place in a trifecta bet.
A strong and largely consistent performer over autumn despite being unable to break through for a race win, Unpretentious has reportedly worked well in the lead-up to his racing return, and is more than worth consideration for a McEwen Stakes bet at current $11 to win, while unlikely to beat Lankan Rupee, or $1.90 to run a place. Finishing a credible fifth in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up on February 15th, the Stratum gelding was unlucky to be blocked for a run in the Newmarket Handicap, but returned to good form when third in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on March 21st. Likely to relish the step-back in class for the 2014 McEwen Stakes, Unpretentious has been confirmed to be partnered by leading jockey Craig Williams and is a greater chance of finishing in contention this weekend.
A notable performer in black type events over the two-year-old autumn season, Eloping arguably faces one of her biggest tests to date amongst open company in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes, but is in career-best form according to trainer Peter Morgan. Debuting with two impressive victories back-to-back, the Choisir filly finishing second to Earthquake in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 8th and continued to build in form and class on her way to a credible seventh in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and victory in the Group 3 Randwick City Stakes (1200m) most notably on April 19th. Allocated the ideal barrier 2, Eloping is also a great chance of figuring in contention in the 2014 McEwen Stakes.
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