There’s a high quality card at Woodbine on Saturday and the G2 Connaught Cup Stakes is the highlight of the afternoon. It is one of five turf events on the card, and commands a purse of $175K. The three year olds and above will be tackling the seven furlongs at the Ontario track and it’s a contest which has attracted a mix of locally-bred thoroughbreds and shippers.
Nicholas Gonzalez’s charge has won 50% of his lifetime starts, and this talented five year old also broke the seven-furlong course record in the G2 Play the King last summer. He wasn’t quite up to that standard in the Woodbine Mile, where the extra yardage counted against him, however, he looked sharp in his seasonal opener and should be competitive in this.
This Belmont shipper finished fifth in the Jaipur last time out, missing out by just two and a half lengths. He's finished third in both of his starts at this track, and may have to play for the minor money once again.
Mark Casse has previous in this race, however, the hall-of-famer doesn’t appear to have the strongest candidate this time around. He was slow to get going in the G2 Nearctic, and although he came third in his last appearance at Fair Grounds, the two in front have both gone on to score again since. That’s decent enough form, but he may just fall short in this one.
Barbara Minshull has a decent history in this event, and she’ll be hoping that Admirality Pier can bring her yet more success over the 7f. This son of Full of Steam Ahead, was successful over the winter in Florida, before disappointing last time out. His best performances have come over longer, and today’s trip may just be too sharp for this speedy sort.
Michael Keogh’s locally-bred charge has an excellent record on the Woodbine turf and was victorious in the G2 Nearctic last season. He has a layoff to overcome today, although there have been plenty of competitive looking workouts over the last couple of months. Having won the Nearctic, this thoroughbred is not to be taken lightly.
Finished narrowly behind Silent Poet last time out in a decent looking allowance event, and will be keen to build upon that near miss. Has enjoyed a mix of turf and dirt during her career, although he’s never previously tackled this trip. There are a few question marks here, although the form of trainer and jockey may just persuade some handicappers to overlook them.
Gray’s Fable put in a superb front-running performance when last seen at Woodbine. Having almost smashing the track record over six and a half, he is an extremely speedy sort, although he is yet to be tested at this level. Having prevailed in both sprints and routes, he is a versatile sort and may be one to keep an eye on.
Free Betting Pick
With very little form at 7f to speak of, there are plenty of unknowns in this year’s Connaught Cup. However, both Silent Poet and Blind Ambition ought to go close, with the former narrowly favored. He is two from three at this trip, and has been in the money in nine of his ten outings at this track. We can overlook the Woodbine Mile, as his other performances have been good enough to be given the nod.
Spooky Express Free Picks – Silent Poet
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