The 2013 Emirates Stakes odds of Gai Waterhouse-trained Spurtonic have shortened dramatically; with plenty of punters throwing their support behind the David Jones Cup winner for the $1 million Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Spurtonic started his preparation with three straight victories in Sydney and finished fourth when stepped up in class in both the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) in Newcastle and the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
The Flying Spur gelding made his Melbourne racing debut in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day and recorded a dominant victory over Bass Strait and Garud to score his first victory at Group level.
Rising jockey Tommy Berry will partner Spurtonic in the 2013 Emirates Stakes field this weekend and told Sky Racing HQ that he was excited to be riding the four-year-old who has thrived since settling in Melbourne just under a month ago.
“I am definitely looking forward to it and I think that I have a great chance with Spurtonic,” Berry said.
“He drops back to the mile, which has suited him in the past, and he meets the favourites Boban four kilos better and Toydini three kilos better than he did in the Epsom, when he got beaten by less than half a length.
“I am very excited about his chances.
“I believe that he has done a little bit better in Melbourne than he was doing in Sydney, so maybe that change of scenery has really helped him.”
Berry said that he was very impressed with Spurtonic’s victory in the David Jones Cup, when he was ridden by Glen Boss, and does not believe that dropping from 2000 metres back to 1600 metres will be an issue for the progressive gelding.
“I think that has really suited him,” Berry said.
“Gai did that with him going into the Epsom, she ran him over 2000m and dropped him back, and she has followed that same path down here.
“The best thing about him the other day was the way that he got around the bend at Caulfield because it is not an easy track to get around.
“There are no queries about him getting around the Melbourne way and being fit enough for the race.”
Spurtonic will start the 2013 Emirates Stakes in barrier eleven but Berry does not believe he will have a problem putting his mount in a good position and praised the versatility of the Group 3 winner.
“There doesn’t look to be a heap of pace in the race but there are some horses in the field that have led in the past,” Berry said.
“He is a pretty cruisey customer, you can put him anywhere in the first three or four, and he switches off very well and gives himself every chance.”
Boban is currently a clear favourite for the Group 1 event, at 2013 Emirates Stakes odds of $3.50), while Spurtonic is on the fourth line of betting at $7.50.