Godolphin star Sweynesse has been displaced as Spring Champion Stakes favourite in a betting move that reflects the high-profile stable’s cautious optimism about his chances in the Group One race.
Favourite with most bookmakers since making it four wins from four starts in the Gloaming Stakes, Sweynesse found himself on the second line of betting soon after acceptances were taken for the last major of the Sydney spring carnival.
In a reversal of pre-post markets, the Flight Stakes winner First Seal is now a warm favourite against the males to make it back-to-back Group One wins.
First Seal was one of two fillies among nine entries for the Spring Champion and her presence has been greeted as welcome news by punters who have already supported her from $2.30 to $1.85.
Sweynesse is out to $3.50 with Panzer Division a $6 chance.
First Seal’s trainer John Thompson has now all but committed First Seal to backing up after her easy Flight Stakes win over Winx.
“At this stage there’s no reason not to run,” Thompson said.
Jason Collett returns from suspension to ride First Seal after her Flight Stakes jockey Blake Shinn made an early call to partner Sweynesse.
Shinn has ridden Sweynesse twice in trackwork during the past week, the latest when he rounded off his preparation with a solid gallop at Warwick Farm.
“Blake has been on his back a couple of times and he was very pleased with him this morning,” Godolphin’s Jason Walsh said.
“Sweynesse is a very professional horse in the mornings and on race day.”
Walsh said Sweynesse would have to rise to a new level against First Seal and Panzer Division, the Paul Messara-trained colt who returns to racing against three-year-olds after taking on weight-for-age company at his latest start.
“If First Seal ends up running, and I know he has beaten her before, it will be a test for him compared to what he has beaten in his last couple,” Walsh said.
“Between her and Panzer Division he’s got to step up and take on some genuine Group horses.”
Sweynesse and First Seal have drawn alongside each other in gates three and four respectively.
Panzer Division will start from the outside alley.
With most of Sydney’s leading jockeys riding at the Caulfield Guineas meeting, Shinn has an enviable Randwick book which also includes Gypsy Diamond in the Group Three Angst Stakes.