Danny O’Brien anointed Russian Camelot the best horse he has trained after the Irish prodigy cemented Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup favouritism as Damien Oliver notched his 120th Group 1 victory.
Imperious in landing the Underwood Stakes — his first open class Group 1 triumph after only seven starts — Russian Camelot took a stranglehold on Cox Plate betting, firming to $3.50 favouritism ahead of Sir Dragonet ($11).
The authority of the colt’s Caulfield success on Saturday also prompted TAB to elevate the mercurial galloper to $8 joint Melbourne Cup favouritism with Surprise Baby.
O’Brien, who has produced the winners of the Melbourne Cup (Vow And Declare) and VRC Oaks (Miami Bound) over the past 11 months, indicated SA Derby winner Russian Camelot was of the rarest ilk.
“I think he’s the best horse I’ve had anything to do with, particularly to do so much so early in his career,” O’Brien said.
“He’s a magnificent colt and we’re thrilled that he’s got this done today and hopefully it’s not the end of the spring for him.
Russian Camelot could be anything. ?
A star is born in the Underwood Stakes. pic.twitter.com/P7frTCyWvX
“It’s really exciting to see him produce performances like this so early in his career. There’s been a lot of hype around him, people are expecting things like this so it’s really exciting to see him go out there and get it done.”
Sooled forward by Oliver to sit off pacesetting Trap For Fools, Russian Camelot ($1.55) surged home over the last 600m in 35.70 to comfortably beat revitalised Humidor ($17) and Arcadia Queen ($5.50).
O’Brien praised Oliver’s decision to take luck out of the equation as the hall-of-fame jockey notched a remarkable 116th Australian Group 1, a total bolstered by four overseas.
“He’s (Oliver) always going to ride the race to how it pans out and today he did a beautiful job,” O’Brien said.
Russian Camelot confirmed why he is a clear favourite in the Cox Plate.Source:Getty Images
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Oliver, whose long career is studded with links to outstanding gallopers, described Russian Camelot as a “classic weight-for-age horse” in a Cox Plate endorsement lost on none.
“He’s an exciting horse and it’s a pleasure to be riding him,” Oliver said.
“He’s always shown us so much. It is a bit of an ask for a horse so early in his career — only seven starts and he’s still only a three-year-old taking on these horses.
“He’s been a boom horse his whole career and it’s nice when they can fulfil it.
Finish the sentence.
Russian Camelot will win _____ this spring. ?️ pic.twitter.com/0e7bekGpz1
“He’s kind of a classic weight-for-age horse. He has the ability to sit on the pace and also to sit back.
“I thought that it was better to grab the race by the scruff of the neck and give him his chance rather than being back in the ruck and having to make up a ton of ground.”
Ominously, Oliver said Russian Camelot was capable of further improvement once his racing manners improved.
“He’s improving all the time, his manners,” Oliver said.
“His demeanour, you’ve got to remember that he’s only early in his career and he’s going to continue to improve.”
The Valley, October 24, 4.15pm
$3.50 Russian Camelot
$11 Sir Dragonet
$17 Arcadia Queen, Aspetar, Fierce Impact, Glenfiddich, Humidor, Magic Wand, Verry Elleegant
Oliver with the silverware after winning another Group 1.Source:Getty Images
TAB BIG BETS
Pinyin was pretty solid in the market for the running of the Glynn Bramich Memorial Handicap (1100m).
Hovering around the $7.50-$6.50 mark for most of the day before jumping at the latter quote, Pinyin followed the rails home thanks to a patient ride by Craig Williams to score.
Going around as the second best backed runner in the race in terms of money held, Pinyin only held approximately a third of the money that the very popular How Womantic did.
Two huge moves highlighted the late betting and the first of those was the significant drift for How Womantic, which went $2.60 out to $3.90 in the final 15 minutes of betting.
The other move was for Miss Iano which was a big trim up from $18-$10.
BETS: Wayupinthesky $1,000 @ $7.50
BETS: Pinyin $1,000 @ $6.50
BETS: How Womantic $1,500 @ $3.90, $2,000 @ $3.80, $1,000 @ $3.80, $1,500 @ $2.70
Rich Hips landed a few nice bets in the MRC RMHC Pin & Win Handicap (1400m).
Largely overshadowed by Grand De Flora ($5) and Duke Of Plumpton ($7) in terms of money held, Rich Hips ($5.50-$6.50) only got out late in betting after being pretty solid for most of the afternoon.
Of the others, Rainbow Thief ($7-$5.50) was a notable firm throughout the day.
BETS: Rich Hips $5,667 @ $6
BETS: Duke Of Plumpton $2,500 @ $6.50, $2,000 @ $6.50, $1,500 @ $6.50
BETS: Grand De Flora $1,000 e/w @ $5.50/$2.20, $1,000 @ $5.50, $2,500 e/w @ $5/$2
The ultra consistent RICH HIPS makes it win no. 4 for @busuttin & @mickdee020 ❤@ArrowfieldStud @FirstLight_FLR pic.twitter.com/9SnQNK3Hrr
One of the best moves at double figures all day was for Saracen Knight in the Peter Comley Handicap (2000m).
TAB had the gelding rated as a $14 chance at the start of the day but continued support which began in the morning saw it come into $7 at the jump.
Damian Lane had him just behind a wall of horses turning for home before getting the son of Camelot into the clear at the 200m mark. Sprinting sharply, Saracen Knight landed some bets and a handy move by running down Irish Flame ($31) in the shadows of the post.
The costly conveyance here was Le Baol ($2.20-$3-$2.80) which went around four times as popular as Skyman ($7) and held nearly half the market.
BETS: Saracen Knight $1,000 @ $7.50, $1,000 e/w @ $7/$2.40, $1,000 e/w @ $7/$2.30
BETS: Le Baol $7,000 @ $3, $2,000 @ $3, $1,000 @ $3 MULTIPLE TIMES, $5,000 @ $2.90, $5,000 @ $2.80 TWICE, $1,072 @ $2.80, $1,000 @ $2.80 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,500 @ $2.50, $5,500 @ $2.30
BETS: Wyclif $2,500 e/w @ $10/$2.90BETS: Ghodeleine $1,500 @ $11
Punters were spot on in the Here For The Horses Handicap (1400m).
Windstorm and Buffalo River were head and shoulders above anything else in terms of money held, commanding a whopping 71 per cent of the total investment.
There was very little separating Windstorm ($2 on Wednesday, $2,30-$2.80 eq fav) and Buffalo River ($4.80 on Wednesday, $2.80 eq fav) with the latter being well tried throughout the week to the point where he shared favouritism.
BETS: Windstorm $6,500 @ $2.80, $6,000 @ $2.80, $2,537 @ $2.80, $2,000 @ $2.80 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,600 @ $2.80, $1,400 @ $2.80, $1,000 @ $2.80 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $2.60
What about the wizard and Windstorm from WA !?♂️@ArrowfieldStud pic.twitter.com/I1cgXbJKmx
Crosshaven was one of the big firmers late in betting for the running of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).
Punters zeroed in on the Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes runner late as the gelding went from $6.50 into $5.50 off the back of a number of big bets.
Doing all the chasing as National Choice ($51) set the tempo, Crosshaven was too strong in the end as he knocked off Amish Boy ($12-$7) which had plenty of support too. National Choice held third after running a cheeky race.
The big disappointment from a punting perspective was Flying Award ($4.40-$3.80-$4.40) which was three times as popular as anything else. It was responsible for 33 per cent of the market.
BETS: Prague $1,000 @ $6, $1,000 @ $5.50
BETS: Crosshaven $1,000 @ $6, $2,000 @ $5.50
BETS: Flying Award $1,000 @ $4, $5,000 e/w @ $3.90/$1.70, $2,000 @ $3.90, $2,000 @ $3.80
BETS: Amish Boy $1,000 @ $8.50
All the big money was riding on Instant Celebrity in the Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).
The Phillip Stokes runner was a very popular favourite with TAB customers and went $3-$2.50 very early on in the day before getting back out to $2.90 just minutes out from the start of the race.
Instant Celebrity held three times as much money as the second pick in the market which was Night Raid ($3.80-$4.20-$3.80). In fact, such was the weight of support for the daughter of Not A Single Doubt that she held double what Night Raid and Mozzie Monster ($6.50-$4.20) combined.
She was also extremely popular with multi players with her victory being a terrible result for TAB.
BETS: Instant Celebrity $20,000 @ $3, $3,500 @ $2.90, $6,000 @ $2.80
BETS: Mozzie Monster $2,000 @ $5, $1,500 @ $5
BETS: Night Raid $3,000 @ $3.80, $4,000 @ $3.60
Russian Camelot asserts his authority in the feature race at Caulfield.Source:Getty Images
Most of the big money was riding on Russian Camelot in the Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m).
The Danny O’brien-trained galloper was a big firmer all week after initially opening a $2.10 favourite earlier in the week.
TAB punters were very quick to jump aboard Russian Camelot and such was the weight of money riding on the entire, that he was nearly twice as popular as the second pick Arcadia Queen ($5.50).
Jumping a hot $1.55 favourite, Russian Camelot did the job for punters and multi players alike as he went on to beat Humidor ($17) and Arcadia Queen.
BETS: Russian Camelot $36,680 @ $1.70, $2,500 @ $1.70, $10,000 @ $1.60
BETS: Arcadia Queen $2,000 @ $6, $1,000 @ $6 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: So Si Bon $1,000 @ $19
BETS: Harbour Views $2,500 @ $19
Junipal defied the betting drift to smash his rivals in the Evergreen Turf Handicap (1700m).
Although popular with TAB customers, the majority of the late money was on Nonconformist ($3.40-$3.70-$3.50) which pushed the price of Junipal out to $4.60 – his best price all week!
Nonconformist was backed as early as Wednesday when $4.80 was on the table and he jumped a $3.50 favourite with twice as much money riding on him than the winner.
Shot Of Irish ($7-$4.80) was a decent trim up late while Inverloch ($13 on Wednesday, $8.50-$10) had interest for most of the week.
BETS: Junipal $1,000 @ $4 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Nonconformist $5,000 @ $3.70, $4,000 @ $3.70, $2,000 @ $3.70, $6,000 @ $3.50, $3,850 @ $3.50
BETS: Inverloch $6,000 x $1,550 e/w @ $10/$3
BETS: Shot Of Irish $3,000 @ $5
Originally published as‘Best I’ve had’: Why O’Brien’s over the moon with Russian
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