Despite being allocated the slightly wide gate 8 at Wednesday’s barrier draw, classy four-year-old Ecuador has received huge support to betting markets to currently register as outright $3.20 favourite and clear market mover for success in this weekend’s Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Having secured five wins and five places from only 11 race starts to date, Ecuador has returned to the track in peak form in 2014, strolling home to win the TAB Rewards Maiden (1400m) first-up before again producing a strong turn of foot to claim the Australian Turf Club Maiden (1400m) last time out.
Usual partner Tommy Berry has been confirmed to take the ride on the High Chaparral gelding in the Ajax Stakes, and appears likely to jump favourite after firmed from an opening quote of nearly $7.
Opening as outright second-favourite for 2014 Ajax Stakes success, talented five-year-old Messene has maintained position on the second line of betting, currently offered at odds of $3.50.
Also finishing outside the places on only one occasion in 11 starts, Messene claimed all of his last six race starts, stretching back to March 2013.
Having returned to the track with a strong win over Reparations in the Listed John McGrath National Sprint (1400m) two weeks ago, punters do not appear to be phased by the prospect Messene will have to overcome the awkward barrier nine this weekend.
Appearing in early nominations for both the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), Team Hawkes are expecting a polished run from the talented Lonhro gelding in the Ajax Stakes.
Contesting a strong and consistent maiden preparation in his native France and Great Britain, Weary finished third in the TAB Rewards Maiden in his only run under leading trainer Chris Waller so far, and offers punters great value on the third line of Ajax Stakes betting at $7 after drawing the ideal barrier 3.
After opening as favourite in betting markets for 2014 Ajax Stakes glory, talented five-year-old Mouro has slipped in price to currently feature as $7.50 fourth-favourite.
Mouro has won all three of his most recent starts, including the Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) first-up on March 1st, but is yet to receive anything more than a sprinkling of bets, made all the more interesting via the fact he will jump from the inside barrier.
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