Bookmakers are tipping five-time Group1 winner It’s A Dundeel to confirm himself as Australasia’s champion racehorse as oddsmakers scrambled to adjust markets after Atlantic Jewel’s shock Cox Plate scratching.
Rocked by the news Mark Kavanagh’s champion mare has almost certainly run her last race, Wollongong-based Sportsbetting.com.au moved swiftly to install the Kiwi star the punters’ elect for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
And they’re willing to take on Gai Waterhouse’s Fiorente after the Melbourne Cup runner-up came up with the outside gate for the 2040-metre scamper around the tight-turning Moonee Valley.
It’s A Dundeel ($4) holds court at the top of betting markets, with Puissance De Lune ($4.50) and Fiorente ($4.80) shadowing the three-year-old triple crown winner.
‘‘The barrier draw has made it impossible for Fiorente to win in our opinion, its grand final is the Melbourne Cup so Sportsbetting.com.au are top odds and keen to take it on in the Cox Plate,’’ said Hamish Davidson from the Wollongong-based bookmaker.
‘‘It’s A Dundeel has been set for the 2040 metres all along, so we think will out perform the Melbourne Cup favourites.’’
Atlantic Jewel was sensationally scratched from the $3million race only minutes after acceptances were taken yesterday.
The five-year-old, a winner of 10 of 11 career starts and more than $1.5million in prize money, was scanned after pulling up sore from an early-morning Flemington workout. The scans revealed damage to a flexor tendon.
She had earlier been trimmed into $2.40 after coming up with gate seven at the barrier draw.
Her absence has thrown the Cox Plate wide open and paved the way for three-year-old maiden and first emergency Shamus Award to gain a start in the Moonee Valley feature.
‘‘Happy Trails is the value pick ... it beat Puissance de Lune and Fawkner last start, Fawkner winning the Caulfield Cup very impressively last week,’’ Davidson said.
‘‘There was a smattering of money for all the favoured runners [yesterday] morning after the withdrawal of $2.40 favourite Atlantic Jewel.
‘‘Our value pick, Happy Trails, is in from $20 while we bet $5 It’s a Dundeel and $6 Puissance De Lune [on Monday]. The smart money has been for Long John - in from $13.’’
There was even more drama on the riding front, with Atlantic Jewel’s regular partner Michael Rodd picking up the ride on Lloyd Williams’ Masked Marvel.
Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Nick Hall was booked to ride Masked Marvel.
Hall, however, failed to have an appeal over a careless riding ban (incurred on Saturday) shaved enough so he could ride in the Cox Plate.
Multiple Cox Plate winner Glen Boss will also forfeit the ride on second pick Puissance De Lune after his appeal to have a careless riding charge in the Caulfield Cup overturned also failed.
Ben Melham will take the mount, while Dwayne Dunn will steer Boss’ Manikato Stakes ride in Rebel Dane.
It’s A Dundeel $4
Puissance De Lune $4.50
Long John $9
Happy Trails $12
Green Moon $21
Shamus Award $26
Super Cool $26
Masked Marvel $34
Rekindled Interest $34
Mull Of Killough $61
Side Glance $61
*Odds courtesy of Sportsbetting.com.au