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2014 Chipping Norton Stakes: preview, live updates, top tips and result

The Makybe Diva Stakes will jump this weekend at Flemington. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Expert
8th March, 2014
36

The first Group 1 of the Sydney carnival is upon us with the Chipping Norton Stakes to kick things off. Join us from 3.25pm AEDT for a full preview, live blog and post-race analysis.

As one of just two Group 1 WFA races run over the classic mile, the Chipping Norton Stakes is one of the most important races in Australia.

It sees the resumption of It’s A Dundeel who will be racing is new silks after being sold but that will have no impact on his ability and the bookies concur. Likely to start odds-on, it’s incredibly difficult to find a chink in the Kiwi’s armour.

With a solid first-up record and unbeaten over the mile, he’ll be the one to beat and has drawn perfectly in the small field of eight. Soft ground in Sydney only further adds to his case and although he failed to fire in the Cox Plate, he still has weight-for-age form around Atlantic Jewel, whom he beat in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes.

According to the bookies, Boban looks his biggest danger but as Roarer Justin Cinque pointed out last month, Boban looks only a shadow of his former self. While he dazzled racing fans in spring where he dominated the middle-distance handicap races, he has struggled in his two appearances at weight-for-age level this season, unplaced in both.

Regular rider Glyn Schofield returns to the saddle but with a poor record on soft ground, he opened far too short in the early markets.

But it might be Chris Waller’s other runner who sends a scare through the It’s A Dundeel camp with Moriarty impressively finishing late in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes behind Appearance.

Moriarty is probably looking for further but outside of It’s A Dundeel, he is the most proven horse at weight-for-age level.

Waller also saddles up Hawkspur who has returned to Sydney after a weak effort in Melbourne where he ran last in the Group 1 C.F Orr Stakes. The trip was too short in the Orr and a return to Sydney makes sense considering Hawkspur looks much more comfortable running the Sydney direction.

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The softer the track, the better Hawkspur’s chances.

Outside of the main chances, Prince Cheri has to be the best of the roughies. The former French galloper has never missed a place running first up but commencing his campaign here, the trip could be too short for the stayer.

He has not run a bad race since arriving in Australia and is heading towards the big races over The Championships so a good run will see him on track for bigger things.

Monton has been dominating at handicap level carrying some big weights but Group 1 company here is a whole different kettle of fish. He’s won three of his last four and enters today as the form runner. Whether he will be able to match it with the proven Group 1 winners is the big question mark but a place certainly isn’t out of the question.

When the gates open at 3.40pm AEST, all eyes will be on It’s A Dundeel who will be racing his final season in Australia before retirement. On paper, he looks incredibly hard to beat.

Roar racing writers’ autumn tipping competition
Alfred Chan – Roar Guru and today’s live blogger
1. It’s A Dundeel
2. Moriarty
3. Hawkspur
4. Boban

Justin Cinque – Roar Racing Editor
1. It’s A Dundeel
2. Monton
3. Boban
4. Moriarty

Cameron Rose – Roar Expert
1. It’s A Dundeel
2. Moriarty
3. Monton
4. Boban

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Brad Durrant – Roar Guru
1. It’s A Dundeel
2. Monton
3. Boban
4. Prince Cheri

Brent Ford – Roar Guru
1. It’s A Dundeel
2. Boban
3. Hawkspur
4. Monton

Big Philou – Roar Expert
1. It’s A Dundeel
2. Moriarty
3. Prince Cheri
4. Hawkspur