2019 Tancred Stakes Betting Preview

After a personal best rating last week and coming up with a plumb draw Avilius has been smashed into $1.70* to take out a second Australian Group 1 in as many weeks. Is he too short to play now?

Wed, 27 Mar, 12:00 AM

Race Shape:

The rail moves out into the +6m position from the 3m last week. With likely Thursday (heavy at 20-40mm), Friday and Saturday it should be yet another heavy surface. It was an advantage to be up on speed/saving ground and peeling out into the middle of the track last week and we’re expecting a very similar pattern again here.

Tempo looks moderate at best. *SCRATCHED* The Taj Mahal is left to take it up with Ace High. *SCRATCHED* Vengeur Masque and Ventura Storm look to sit behind them. Mid-field looks congested with Doukhan, Patrick Erin, Big Duke and Rondinella jostling for positions. Avilius sits off them on the outside of Sound. Brimham Rocks will be back with a negative draw for the stable with Red Cardinal, *SCRATCHED* Muntahaa and Nettoyer. Yogi last.


The Key Runners:


1. Avilius (7) - $1.70F*

J: J. McDonald (59kg) T: J. Cummings

Defied a massive betting drift last-start when $3.20-$4.40 to score his maiden Group 1 victory. That drift was no doubt due to a very plain performance in the Australian Cup when fading to finish 5th at $1.65. The eye ulcer he pulled up with after that run can be the only culprit. The quick back-up should assist him fitness-wise on a heavy track, not having the all-important 2400m run under his belt. He’s proven over the journey having won the Bart Cummings last year. Though that race was inferior to this he’s gone to a new level this time in and on the back of a personal best rating last start is only continuing on this upward spiral. Seems a fairly bomb-proof on-top selection but we’d be needing black odds to play.  

3. Red Cardinal (12) - $6*

J: K. McEvoy (59kg) T: K. Lees

Starting down the barrel of the third straight win on rain affected ground, he looks to finally be re-capturing some of the old form that saw him start in the market for a Melbourne Cup in 2017. He was impressive first-up weaving between the field to score in the Parramatta Cup. He carried an SP of $26 in that event although from an opening quote of $41 there was a sprinkling of cash to suggest he’d finally come up. That was affirmed in the Sky High last-start when he gave them a start and a beating over 2000m on a bottomless Rosehill surface. He’ll relish the going but will likely follow Avilius into the race and find it very hard to get past him late. Has to go in all exotics.

4. *SCRATCHED* The Taj Mahal (15) - $17*

J: B. Prebble (59kg) T: L. Howley

The Williams camp have certainly toned down their crusade on dry tracks since sending some gallopers down to Sydney. This bloke comes off an event effort at best in the Ranvet, settling on-speed he withered late to finish 7.7L behind Avilius in 6th. All his peak runs are on dry tracks (dual wins in the Zipping Classic) but he does look to get complete control of the speed here and should be peaking in fitness fourth-up. Looking towards others.

8. Big Duke (9) - $12*

J: B. Avdulla (59kg) T: K. Lees

Comes through the Manion Cup last-start giving him the all-important 2400m run under his belt. Not only was it at the distance but the track under similar conditions only a week ago, giving him the best platform of any horse in this race. His run in the Manion Cup was full of merit, in a race run to suit those closer to the pace Avdulla (who won’t be wasting this week to ride too light) ducked back between runners and was very strong to and through the line. He’s always been set-up to peak 4th and 5th-up evidenced by a narrow 2nd in the 2017 Metrop 4th-up followed by a St. Ledger win at his next start. Given a tactical draw Avdulla could be ahead of the favourite mid-field in-run given Big Duke’s superior platform. At double the price of Red Cardinal this is the horse we’re with on an each-way basis.

9. Ventura Storm (8) - $71*

J: J. Kah (59kg) T: D. & B. Hayes & T. Dabernig

Another who’s had the all-important 2500m lead-up. He was strong from an on-speed position in the Mornington Cup. Copped a slight check at the 300m mark but kept going to the line. He’s never seen a heavy track but has run well on soft previously with a 7:2-0-1 record including two mid-field finishes in last year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. Looks to get the box seat on the map and he’s another who has a historical profile of peaking 4th and 5th-up, especially when tackling this distance range on the back-up (backing up off last year’s Caulfield Cup to win the Moonee Valley Gold Cup in dominant fashion). Looks big odds.

14 (e1). Rondinella (10) - $15*

J: S. Clipperton (56.5kg) T: R. James

The Kiwi gains a run with the scratching of Auvray. The lightly-races daughter of Ocean Park is stepping up to beyond 2100m for the first time. She’s performance well on rain affected tracks at her last two, placing narrowly behind Vin De Dance in the Listed Kaimai Stakes before placing third 3.5L behind Danzedanzedanze in the Group 1 NZ Stakes. She hit the line nicely on both occasions and looks like the step up in distance should suit. We have a recent line on both Vin De Dance - paraded outstanding prior to the Manion Cup then being cast wide the trip and dropping out, whilst Danzedanzedanze ran on evenly behind Avilius doing his best work late. Will be suited if they’re swooping and can run top 4.


  1. Avilius ($1.70F*)
  2. Big Duke ($12*)
  3. Red Cardinal ($6*)
  4. Ventura Storm ($71*)

Betting Plan:

Avilius just too short for us here, playing Big Duke heavier the place and something tiny on Ventura Storm for a blow-out result:

  • 15% of the race bank on Big Duke to WIN at $12* and 65% to PLACE at $3.10*.
  • 5% of the race bank on Ventura Storm to WIN at $71* and 15% to PLACE at $15*.


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