The market for Randwick’s feature $250,000, Group 2 Quincy Seltzer Villiers Stakes (1600m) is convinced that Quackerjack with 56kg will become the first winner since Monton with 58kg in 2011 to carry weight to win the summer classic.
The highest weight carried to victory since Monton has been 54.5kg with Crack Me Up (NZ) in 2017 and Ninth Legon in 2013. Further, before Monton it was back to 2006 and Utzon with 57.5kg when a winner carried an impost at the high end.
However, the TAB market is rock solid on Friday with Quackerjack at $3.00 after opening at $4.60 and steadily firming into his current price level. The second line of the market has Ranier and El Dorado Dreaming at $7.50, both after opening at $7.00 followed by Bobbing at $8.00 and Live And Free (NZ) at $9.00.
Quackerjack, a four-year-old gelding by Not A Single Doubt, has been a significant earner for Mark Newnham’s owners with over $300,000 in stakes from his last two race; the Goulburn Stakes win over 1400m on November 3rd and the second in The Gong over 1600m at Kembla Grange on November 23rd.
To add to that tally and gain a place in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in April by winning the Villiers Stakes, jockey Rachel King will have the same problem to overcome that she did at Kembla Grange, a wide barrier.
In The Gong Quackerjack had barrier 11 with 52kg and just failed by a head to reach Mister Sea Wolf (IRE) with his 59kg after a wide passage.
Inside Quackerjack is Godolphin’s Ranier, another four-year-old gelding, this time by Lonhro, and rejuvenated as a winner after the Group 3 Festival Stakes win over 1500m on November 30th. Ranier, with 53kg, beat Live And Free, 53.5kg, by a nose after traffic problems by Kathy O’Hara in extracting Ranier to clear running after settling in fourth from barrier one and on the rails. A better passage would have resulted in a more clear cut win.
Kerrin McEvoy takes over Ranier on Saturday with barrier nine and 55.5kg. The wider barrier will allow McEvoy to travel off the rails giving Ranier a smoother passage with the weight and the critical 0.5kg over Quackerjack.
El Dorado Dreaming has an inside barrier of five for Brenton Avdulla, but 57kg, Live And Free has 55kg, but barrier 12 for Glen Boss. Bobbing has the right weight at 53kg and barrier three for apprentice Robbie Dolan, which will then be measured against the class of the outside runners.
The favourite’s $3.00 seems short against Ranier’s $7.50 who has looked to have returned to his spring three-year-old form of winning the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes over 1600m at Flemington. The Festival Stakes win was through his turn of foot once clear and a repeat of that with the reasonable weight makes for a recommendation for twice the favourite’s market price.
The Villiers Stakes is Race 7 at 4.40pm
Ranier and Kathy O'Hara, picture Sportpix.com.au