Wed, Jun 22, 1:59pm by Bren O'Brien
Azkadellia is highly fancied to enhance her reputation as the second best mare in Australia when she contests Saturday’s Tatts Tiara at Eagle Farm, the final Group 1 race of the Australian racing year.
Azkadellia is already a Group 1 winner of the Queen of the Turf in the Sydney autumn, while she has been placed in four other Group 1 races over her career, including a third behind Australia’s best mare Winx in the Doncaster four starts back.
So given she’s on level weights with most of the field, only one of which has won Group One, you’d expect her to be well into odds-on. But William Hill will let you on her at $2.40 after her last-start failure when favourite in the Stradbroke Handicap two weeks’ ago.
In that race, she got buried back along the rail, was repeatedly blocked for runs and finished a well-beaten 10th, just the second time she had been unplaced in her 16-start career.
Nick Hall has replaced Damien Oliver in the saddle having never ridden the four-year-old mare in a race before and having not ridden a Group 1 winner since the 2014 Caulfield Stakes.
Danish Twist, coming off four consecutive wins in New South Wales but stepping up to Group One level for the first time, is considered Azkedelia’s main threat. The Kris Lees mare is $7.5 with Sportsbet.
Precious Gem, currently $8, is the other Group One winner in the race having won the Robert Sangster at Morphettville earlier last month. She did beat Azkadellia home when sixth in the Stradbroke, but meets her 2kg worse off at the weights.
Cradle Me is also $8, having broken through for a much-deserved win in the Group Two Dane Ripper at Eagle Farm most recently. She beat home five of her Tiara rivals in that race but at seven years of age, there is a question if she can make further improvement to test the likes of Azkadellia.
Fourth in the Dane Ripper was Onemorezeta, who prior to that had been runner-up twice to Danish Twist and represents the best outsider value in the Tiara at $41 with Sportsbet. She’s definitely worth an each way or place bet in this race.
Three-year-old fillies always create interest in these races, as they get a weight-for age advantage, in this case, 1.5kgs. Blueberry Hill, a listed winner at Ipswich last week and My Poppette, who was down the track in the Dane Ripper, dip the toe in.
But neither seems to have the class to worry Azkadellia, who looks close to a good thing. The barrier draw of 11 should ensure Ciaron Maher’s star mare sees none of the trouble she endured last time and she should make amends.
Early Bet Tatts Tiara: Azkadellia at $2.4 with William Hill
Early Roughie: Onemorezeta at $41(EW) with Sportsbet
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