Returning Australian Guineas – All-Star Mile winning filly Mystic Journey has come up trumps with barrier two in Saturday’s 11 horse Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) field at Caulfield.
The bookies are taking no chances with Adam Trinder’s superstar daughter of Needs Further, Mystic Journey odds-on favourite in P.B. Lawrence Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to win first-up in the weight-for-age feature.
The now four-year-old has won her last six straight races including her historical victory over the boys in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) where she broke a century-long drought for Tasmanian-trained horses at elite level.
She then backed-up and defeated three-time Group 1 champion Hartnell and brilliant mare Alizee in the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m), not bad for an $11,000 buy from the Apple Isle.
Two winning trials at home in the interim have the now $3.26 million earner cherry ripe for her spring kick-off in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at a track and distance she saluted at last season.
Mystic Journey heads towards a likely Moonee Valley run in the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) in October, for which she is already leading pre-field betting.
The danger looking at where the early money is at in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes odds is the All-Star Mile runner-up Hartnell who has been heavily backed by the punters in from $5.50 to $4.40 on Wednesday.
Hugh Bowman partners Godolphin’s 51-start veteran who races as a nine-year-old for the first time on the weekend.
Hartnell has run in 28 Group 1 races over his illustrious career to date for three wins and a further 12 minor placings.
He has finished in the money in his last four runs, the latest finishing third behind the champion mare Winx in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during April’s ‘The Championships’ in Sydney.
The grand old campaigner won the 2017 edition of the P.B. Lawrence Stakes first-up and also placed second in the race 12 months ago behind Showtime.
The David Hayes-led Lindsay Park stable have four P.B. Lawrence Stakes acceptors this season.
The best fancied of their chances in the markets is Fifty Stars in gate eight with Ben Allen riding the five-year-old Sea The Stars entire.
Fifty Stars enjoyed back-to-back Group 2 wins in March at Flemington (Blamey Stakes) and Rosehill (Ajax Stakes) before his luckless 12th in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick from barrier 20 of 20.
A smaller field on Saturday bodes well for his return and his Soft-track form suggests he can be competitive.
The three other Lindsay Park acceptors are all at longer $41 odds to score a boilover in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes with Australian Cup winner Harlem in barrier 10, Sikandarabad drawn the rails and Neufbosc in the outside gate.
Lightly-raced French import Neufbosc makes his Australian race debut in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes with Dwayne Dunn to ride last year’s Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris runner-up.
Ciaron Maher & David Eustace also have multiple runners with Cliff’s Edge and Kenedna.
Cliff’s Edge has fitness on his side after a first-up third behind Scales Of Justice in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes at the track, while Doomben Cup winning mare Kenenda races fresh after her excellent winter campaign in Brisbane.
Last year’s Mackinnon Stakes winner Trap For Fools, former French-trained So You Think six-year-old Mr Marathon Man and the race roughie Semari round-out the line-up.
The 2019 P.B. Lawrence Stakes field takes to the Caulfield track on Saturday in Race 8 at 4:40pm (local time).