Favorite faces Exaggerator-style challenge in exciting Aussie G1

Azkadellia: faces the challenge of an outside draw in the Doomben 10,000. Photo: Steve Hart

Were you surprised by Exaggerator’s upset of favorite Nyquist in the Preakness Stakes last Saturday? Exaggerator was ridden by a resurgent Hall of Fame jockey who expertly judged the race’s tempo. U.S. race fans will be able be to judge for themselves the importance of a race’s speed when their attention turns south overnight to Brisbane, Australia, for the A$750,000 ($540,000) Doomben 10,000. 

The six-and-threequarter-furlong G1, one of the highlights of Brisbane’s Winter Racing Carnival, is off at 4 p.m. Brisbane time tomorrow (in the U.S. - where it can be watched live - that’s 2 a.m. EST, 11 p.m. tonight PST).

Which horse and jockey will triumph at Doomben Racecourse? Will it be favorite Azkadellia, the 4-year-old New Zealand mare who won the G1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (run as the Coolmore Legacy Stakes) at Randwick in April and who will be ridden by Mark Zahra? Or will it be the highly rated Fell Swoop, runner up to the mighty Chautauqua in the Darley T.J Smith Stakes, also at Randwick in April, and his rider, Zac Purton?

If last weekend’s Preakness is anything to go by, two factors will determine the outcome down under. Exaggerator, who won the Santa Anita Derby in April, is certainly an impressive horse with a track record to prove it, but it was jockey Kent Desormeaux and how he paced the horse through the 1 3/16 miles that proved crucial.

From a third-post position, favorite Nyquist headed straight to the lead but couldn’t sustain his pace, with outsiders Uncle Lino and Awesome Speed piling on the pressure. Exaggerator and Desormeaux, back in fifth post position, bided their time before the home stretch, when they surged to take the lead over an exhausted Nyquist, who slipped back to finish third.

As important as race tempo and Exaggerator’s own performance was the way Desormeaux rode the colt. The 46-year-old Louisianan is a Hall of Fame jockey who holds the American record for the most race wins in a single year (598 in 1989), and last Saturday showed that experience can be crucial.

How will senior Victorian rider Zahra pace Azkadellia at Doomben? Like Desormeaux in the Preakness, he faces the challenge of an outside draw, but he can take comfort from the fact that all the race’s previous three winners surged from the back half of the field, and also from the knowledge that Azkadellia is a noted back marker.

U.S. fans can follow the action live and direct, as well as bet, with advance deposit wagering websites like TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, MyWinners, WatchandWager, and NYRA Rewards. Punters can also head to Sky Racing World’s website australianracing.com for free past-performance form and live streaming.

David Haslett, a former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April, 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.


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