There were only 4 races this year that a horse paying under $3 win a straight race at Flemington. Incredibly, the average starting price for a horse winning a straight race at Flemington in 2017 was in double figures.
The shortest-price winner to get up this year was Divine Quality in May, starting a $2.25 favorite. Divine Quality was joined by just 3 others who also won under the $3 odds; Ball Of Muscle ($2.50), Shoals ($2.75) and Ability ($2.88).
If you were looking for an odds-on favorite in the other 54 straight races at Flemington this year, you were a probably having a worse time then watching $101 pop Lasqueti Spirit beat heavily backed favorite Yankee Rose by 20.4L in the Oaks last year, perhaps some people’s worst memory of Flemington.
In fact, the average starting price for a straight-race winner at Flemington this year was around $10.43. More than 1 in 3 of winning horses in the straight races paid double figures (36%), with odds of as much as $71 put up for a winner with some bookmakers.
Bringing back nightmares for some, the biggest roughies to get up in a straight race this year comprise of Perpetual Crisis, Redkirk Warrior and Play Master. Redkirk Warrior was a big winner in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in March, finishing 2.9L in front of favorite Extreme Choice, opening up at $51 before starting at $31.
Darren Weir trained Perpetual Crisis was also a big-odds winner back on the 28th of January in the Inglis Dash. The $41 shot overcame favorite Fuhryk, who was the eventual Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes runner up.
Veteran sprinter Play Master was coming off nearly a 10L loss in his last outing, also a straight race at Flemington, before coming out and with a big run from 8th to run over the top of $3.20 favorite Divine Mr Artie.
Other winners at big odds this year over the straight trip were Thermal Current ($21), Rocket Tommy ($21), Tashbeeh ($21), Red Alto ($21) and Fox Swift ($18). The juicy odds are very appealing to the optimistic value seekers however picking them is a different story.
Not all bad news for the punters however, some straight-race specialists emerged who are sure to benefit from the non-existent bend in the future. NZ galloper Lake Como was successful 3 times in straight races this year, before coming up against the very talented Ability, and also Lyuba in listed races.
Redkirk Warrior didn’t look like getting beaten in his first 2 goes at the trip however struggled in the Group 1 Darley Classic when running into Redzel. Redkirk Warrior was victorious first-up in this year’s Newmarket Handicap, indicating he will be very hard to beat at the beginning of next prep, especially taking on the straight journey.