Thirteen runners have been confirmed to line up for the 2014 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m), scheduled to close the inaugural The Championships at Royal Randwick this weekend and offering punters particularly good value in betting markets.
Unlucky to finish second in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) first-up on March 29th, Plucky Belle is outright favourite for success in the 2014 Sapphire Stakes at current $4.20 odds, ahead of Peron ($5), Dystopia ($6) and Avoid Lightning ($8.50).
Will Plucky Belle return to the winner’s circle in the 2014 Sapphire Stakes, or will one of her classy opponents find the line in the clear?
Plucky Belle ($4.20)
Securing four wins and five places from 18 competitive starts to date, Plucky Belle contested a short yet consistent 2013 spring preparation, winning the Group 3 Lavazza Short Black (1400m) on Melbourne Cup day most notably. Unlucky when blocked for a run twice and squeezed out to be beaten by a short nose in the Birthday Card Stakes last time out, the Mossman mare is in line to respond in the best possible way this weekend, having been allocated the ideal barrier 6 and confirmed to be partnered by in-form jockey Chad Schofield.
Consistent performer Lilliberlero has arguably returned to the track in career best form in 2014 and offers punters sensational value for money at current $9 odds, or $3 for a place. Unable to string together anything of a consistent run of form over her 2014 Spring campaign, the Redoute’s Choice mare strolled home to win the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) first-up this year before finishing a fighting second behind in-form mare A Time For Julia in the Group 3 Roy Higgins Tribute Quality (1200m) on March 15th. Unlucky when blocked for a run and fifth in a fanning finish in the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1200m) last time out, Lilliburlero will be partnered by leading jockey Nash Rawiller in the 2014 Sapphire Stakes.
Avoid Lightning ($8.50)
Pipping Plucky Belle on the line in the Birthday Card Stakes last time out, Avoid Lightning is offered a good opportunity to secure back-to-back victories when lining up for this weekend’s Sapphire Stakes, having been allocated the central barrier 7 and confirmed to be partner by in-form jockey Blake Shinn. Securing an impressive record of seven wins and four places from only 18 competitive race starts to date, the Blevic mare has more than stamper her claims as one to watch this year.
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