Lankan Rupee has been backed into 2015 Newmarket Handicap odds of $3 and is now favourite to take out the Group 1 event at Flemington this afternoon.
Lankan Rupee opened on the second line of Newmarket Handicap betting markets when the final field was released earlier in the week at a quote of $3.30, but the Redoute’s Choice gelding has been a clear market mover and looks likely to start the race as favourite.
No horse has won the Newmarket Handicap two years in a row since Razor Sharp in 1983 and Lankan Rupee will carry the top-weight of 58.5 kilograms, but trainer Mick Price remains confident that his star galloper is the horse to beat.
“Both Chautauqua and Terravista beat him at weight-for-age, but he deserves his 58 and a half because he has won five Group 1s,” Price told Sky Racing HQ earlier in the week.
“Even though his Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket last year were not off the true minimum, it doesn’t matter and I think he deserves his 58 and a half.
“He has to give two kilograms to Terravista and three kilograms to Chautauqua and he is there to beat beaten, but he is going great and if any horse can do it, it is him.
“I think that it is a very exciting race.”
Chautauqua opened as favourite at 2015 Newmarket Handicap odds of $2.80, but he has been a consistent drifter since Wednesday and he is now out to $3.30 to record his maiden win at Group 1 level this afternoon.
Despite the drift in betting, leading racing analyst Vince Accardi believes that Chautauqua has an edge on Lankan Rupee and will prove very difficult to beat in the 2015 Newmarket Handicap.
“Chautauqua stands out with his ability to break into that elite level,” Accardi told Fairfax.
“Chautauqua is going to run his mark and his best data is at Flemington.
“He is right on track after running 7.5 [lengths] above benchmark at Caulfield, so it is going to be a great race.”
Another horse that has drifted in the past 24 hours is talented three-year-old Brazen Beau and he is now out to $5 after being available at a quote of $4.50 earlier in the week.
Brazen Beau will carry just 52 kilograms in the Newmarket Handicap and has the chance to join the likes of Shamexpress (2013), Wanted (2010), Weekend Hussler (2008), Alinghi (2005) and Exceed And Excel (2004) as recent three-year-old winners of the Newmarket Handicap.
While Chautauqua and Brazen Beau have both been drifters in Newmarket Handicap betting markets, there has been a little bit of support for Terravista and he is now back into $5.50.
Terravista beat Chautauqua and Lankan Rupee to win the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but history is against him in the Newmarket Handicap as no horse has won the race first-up since Polycrates in 1917.
There has been a sprinkling of support for Driefontein ($51 into $41), while Lord Of The Sky ($61 out to $81), Watermans Bay ($21 out to $26) and Delectation ($17 into $26) have all been on the drift with Ladbrokes.