Newmarket Handicap Tips: Who history points to winning

Adam Cusworth in Newmarket Handicap 5 Mar 2020
  • Who does history suggest will win the time honoured Newmarket?
The 2019 Newmarket Handicap was taken out by Sunlight.

The Newmarket Handicap (1200m) has long been considered one of Australia’s premier sprint races and its honour roll features some of the best.

Black Caviar, Miss Andretti and Takeover Target are modern day winners of the Newmarket, while Bernborough, Ajax and Wakeful are among some of the champions from yesteryear that have claimed victory in the Flemington straight six. Sunlight claimed the race last year, while Redkirk Warrior scored back to back wins in 2017 and 2018.

Looking at the trends of the race since the year 2000, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to picking a winner in the $1.25 million Group 1. The Handicap conditions of the race have provided a mix of gallopers to have won the event. Hay List claimed the time-honoured classic with 58.5kg in 2012, while at the other end of the weight scale, Sunlight won with just 50.5kg last year. Rubitano saluted with 51kg in 2002.

This year, Gytrash heads the weights with 57kg, while at the other end of the scale in the 13 horse field it is a couple of three-year-olds in Banquo and Libertini that carry just 51kg. There are five horses aged three this year including the equal favourites in Bivouac and Exceedance, who have both been posted at $5 in early markets with sportsbet. Loving Gaby is the other three-year-old and is at $5.50.

Horses in this age group have an excellent record in this race in recent years. Eight of the past 16 winners were three when they won, including Sunlight and Brazen Beau, who romped home for Chris Waller in 2015, while the likes of Exceed And Excel (2004), Alinghi (2005) and Weekend Hussler (2008) all scored at that age. Sunlight joined Alinghi and Miss Pennymoney (2000m) as fillies to have won since 2000.

Behind those horses in the betting is Gytrash at $8, while The Inevitable is at $9 ahead of Zoutori and Libertini (both $10). Bivouac and Exceedance will be attempting to end a slight hoodoo for popular elects as none have won since 2012 when Hay List lobbed as a $3.75 chance. Hay List’s performance came one year after the mighty Black Caviar scored at the prohibitive odds of $1.18.

In the 20-year period since the year 2000, The average starting price of the winners has been $9.50. The Inevitable, Zoutori and Libertini are closest to that figure this year. Following them in the market are Halvorsen at $20 and Tofane and Banquo at $31. Despatch, Trope (both $46) and Mystyko ($101) round out the field. An interesting stat is that seven of the past nine winners have drawn in the second half of the field, including Redkirk Warrior, who drew 15 of 15 in 2018.

This year, Exceedance, Libertini and The Inevitable are among those that have drawn out. Because of their association with Redkirk Warrior, the Hayes/Dabernig are the most successful trainers in this race this millennium alongside Peter Moody and Lee Freedman, who have also saddled up two winners in the Newmarket since 2000. None of those stables have a runner this year.

James Cummings (Bivouac), the Hawkes’ (Exceedance) and the Maher/Eustace stable (Loving Gaby) have not won a Newmarket this millennium. On the jockey’s front, those to have won the Newmarket on multiple occasions since 2000 are Regan Bayliss, Luke Nolen, Damien Oliver and Craig Newitt. Of those hoops, none are in action in the Newmarket.

Finally, the ideal lead up form to the Newmarket has been either the Lightning Stakes (1000m) or the Oakleigh Plate (1100m), with the past 11 winners coming out of either of those two Group 1 lead ups. Six of the past eight winners have come out of the Lightning, including Sunlight, who was 3rd in that race last year. Redkirk Warrior won the Lightning in 2018 but was first up in 2017. This year, the Lightning was claimed by Gytrash, while Loving Gaby ran 3rd. Bivouac was an unlucky 6th in the Oakleigh Plate.

Selection based on trends:
It looks to be one for the there-year-olds and it is hard to split Bivouac and Loving Gaby, who have both had a run this time in, while Exceedance is fresh.

Bivouac $5 Bet now!