Punters pouncing on Group 1 action after bookies pay out big

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Press Statement

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Press StatementTHE Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is well and truly under way, after the weekend’s four group one races at Caulfield.

And the pockets of our friends at online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au are a little lighter after the bookie paid out a mammoth $1.65 million on its first four special on the first four races of the day.

Some 42,000 punters got their money back, despite their horses finishing second, third or fourth in each of those races on Saturday morning.

There were some massive punts on the races at CrownBet.com.au, but none more savvier than the $3000 outlay on Chris Waller’s star Press Statement, which netted one punter $16,500 after he laid a futures bet on the champ to win the Caulfield Guineas some months ago at $5.50.

The horse paid $2.70 in the end with sportsbet.com.au beating home Lizard King and Ready For Victory.

Star hoop Hugh Bowman guided Press Statement out of the death barrier 14 after it jumped quickly and then never let up as it cruised to the finish line.

“He’s a good horse and that’s what good horses do,” Waller said after the race.

“It takes a leading, world class rider to take up the initiative.”

Bowman called the horse “a star in the making”.

“Although we had to ride him a bit out of his comfort zone, his class came to fruition,” Bowman said.

A start in the Cox Plate is still up in the air, with Waller still undecided if the $9 chance will race in the weight for age classic.

“To put everything into perspective, when he won the JJ Atkins in the winter he was a maiden, he hadn’t raced,” Waller said.

“He’s had a hell of a long journey.

“Do we need to find out if he can win the Cox Plate?

“I don’t know.

“Maybe we can do that next year.”

The punters at sportsbet.com.au aren’t worrying about Press Statement for the plate, instead turning their attention to his top two fancies Kermadec ($6) and Winx ($7).

The bookie’s Christian Jantzen report those two are the best supported horses in the race.

“Criterion tightened from $12 into $5 favourite after his win in Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes,” Jantzen said.

“Criterion scored a nice win on the weekend and knocked Kermadec from Plate favouritism.

“That hasn’t stopped punters though, Kermadec is very well backed and Winx is almost going dollar for dollar with him.”

Most of the other big bettors with CrownBet.com.au crashed an burned at Flemington on the weekend.

One punter had a cool $6000 on $1.30 favourite Lankan Rupee in race two – that’s a lot of risk for the prospect of little to no return.

Another dropped $3000 on Kermadec at $2.90 in the Caulfield Stakes, won well by the David Hayes trained New Zealander Criterion.

Criterion, which has been racing in Europe earlier this year, flew home to win, ahead of Happy Trials and Mongolian Khan.

“I think he’s been racing at the Olympics and now he’s back at the national titles,” Hayes said.

“People don’t realise how good those horses (in Europe) really are.

“He got flattened by (Arc de Triomphe winner) Golden Horn and should have finished close to him, and Golden Horn would be Black Caviar odds if he ran here.”

Hayes said connections with his star wanted to see Criterion back up in the Cox Plate, and maybe even the Melbourne Cup.

Winning jockey Michael Walker said Criterion was “a true weight for age star”.

Kermadec, the heavy favourite, could only manage a disappointing fourth, rider Glenn Boss saying “he probably wants a bit more jar out of the track” indicating it may have been a little hard.

In the Toorak Handicap, Darren Weir’s stable mates Lucky Hussler and Stratum Star dominated proceedings, finishing first and third from favourite Disposition.

And Hayes preceded his Caulfield Guineas win with his little jet Stay With Me storming home in the Thousand Guineas ahead of Jameka and Badawiya.

Snow Sky firms in Caulfield Cup market

The attention stays on Caulfield this weekend, with today’s barrier draw giving UK-based stayer Snow Sky the perfect draw in barrier three.

Sportsbet.com.au wound the Prince Khalid bin Abdullah horse’s price in from $13 into $11, following the barrier draw.

Favourite Mongolian Khan also tightened from $4.60 into $4.40 after its third place in the Caulfield Stakes.

But it was a bad day for Waller whose gun Royal Descent eased from $13 to $21 after drawing the extreme outside barrier, 22. Stablemate Who Shot Thebarman drew barrier 21 and is $26.

“Snow Sky looks the likely leader and from the good barrier he should be able to get there without spending much gas. Mongolian Khan has gate nine, which will be ideal, but two of Waller’s runners face a huge task,’’ the bookie’s Ben Bulmer said.

“Mongolian Khan had a few friends before last Saturday, but now everybody seems to want a piece of him,” Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen added.

“He’s the best backed runner in the race.”

*In the Melbourne Cup, Criterion was the big mover after its win on the weekend.

“The widely travelled Criterion was also a big Melbourne Cup firmer, halving his quote to $17. Fame Game ($7.50) heads Cup betting over the Waller trained Preferment ($9),” Jantzen said.

Caulfield Cup markets

$4.40 Mongolian Khan

$8 Hauraki

$9 Set Square

$11 Snow Sky

$11 Fame Game

$11 Rising Romance

$13 Complacent

$15 Hokko Brave

$17 Gust of Wind

$21 Royal Descent

$21 Volkstok’n’barrell

$26 Our Ivanhowe

$26 Magic Hurricane

$26 Who Shot Thebarman

Others quoted

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au

Cox Plate markets

Markets courtesy of sportsbet.com.au

Cox Plate

$5 Criterion

$6 Kermadec

$7 Winx

$8 Highland Reel

$9 Arod

$11 Preferment

$11 Press Statement

$13 Fawkner

$13 Hartnell

$15 Happy Trails

$21 Mongolian Khan

$21 The Cleaner

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au

Melbourne Cup markets

$7.50 Fame Game

$9 Preferment

$12 Who Shot Thebarman

$13 Mongolian Khan

$15 Amralah

$15 Dandino

$17 Bondi Beach

$17 Criterion

$17 Hokko Brave

$17 Max Dynamite

$17 Our Ivanhowe

Others quoted

Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au

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