Just 12 three-year-olds remain in the final field for the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield this weekend after Team Hawkes elected to remove Nostradamus from the final field to contest the Group 3 Run To The Rose in Sydney, offering punters exceptional value for money and several key opportunities to place a winning bet.
Have registered a strong start to her racing career, Novel Dancer is now outright $5 favourite for success in the 2014 McNeil Stakes, ahead of Stingray ($6.50), Chivalry ($7) and clear market mover Awesome Rock ($7.50) at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Will Novel Dancer justify favouritism and win the 2014 McNeil Stakes, or will one of her classy rivals secure an upset?
A notable performer over major two-year-old events through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Zululand arguably offers punters the best value for success in the 2014 McNeil Stakes at current $11 odds, or $3.60 to run a place. Debuting with a strong run for second amongst classy competition in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) in November, the Fastnet Rock colt was unlucky to be blocked for a run when fourth in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (11000m) on February 1st, and while unable to match the late pace when ninth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), responded in the best way possible when comfortably winning the Group 2 Henry Buck Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on March 8th. Ending his maiden season second to Go Indy Go in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m), trainer David Hayes is confident Zululand will be far-better for fifth in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) first-up and is expecting a polished performance from the ideal barrier 3.
Yet to finish outside the places in two starts this time in, Boomwaa was a particularly consistent performer through autumn and is more than worth consideration for a bet in the 2014 McNeil Stakes. Finishing third in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) on debut in October, the Mutawaajid gelding won the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) in November and became the first two-year-old to contest the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) in more than 20 years upon returning to the track this year. Placing a credible fifth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22nd, Boomwaa appears primed for the McNeil Stakes after overcoming poor running position to finish third in the Vain Stakes last time out. Having to overcome barrier 9, Boomwaa is sure to be boosted by leading jockey Craig Williams taking the ride.
One of the most consistent two-year-olds in black type races over the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Cornrow was rusty when only managing ninth in the Vain Stakes first-up, but has reportedly progressed well to the McNeil Stakes. Finishing second in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) first-up this year, the Duporth colt charged home to finish third in the Blue Diamond Stakes before repeating the dose in the Group 2 Todman Stakes a month later. While disappointing when beating just a single runner home in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5th, Cornrow ended his campaign third in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes and offers punters great value for a place in the 2014 McNeil Stakes.
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