Newmarket Handicap 2024

Distance: 1200m | Conditions: Open Handicap | Rail Position: 4m | Track Condition: Good 4

What an intriguing race we have here for the Newmarket Handicap down the straight at Flemington. All eyes will be on champion mare for Te Akau, Imperatriz, who will be looking to secure her 10th Group 1. She has a huge task lugging the topweight here but will she prove too good again?


Speed Map

Big field so they could easily split in two with half on the outside fence and the other half on the inside rail. It’s hard to work out who will take this up but with most of these preferring a sit, whoever does should get it pretty soft in front. Imperatriz took it up in the Lightning and is likely to be somewhere thereabouts again, while we could also see the Astrologist and Master Fay there also. Bella Nipotina will be keeping them in her sights alongside Cylinder and Magic Time and Benedetta while Buenos Noches will be running on late.


Key Runners

jockey silks1. Imperatriz (3)

If there was ever a mare who could go on and win a Newmarket as the topweight, it’s Imperatriz. She has drawn comparisons to Black Caviar over the last few weeks and while they’re probably far-fetched, claiming this win would put her in champion status. 1200m looks ideal now and her second up record speaks for itself (5:4-0-1). Even with the weight swing, it’s hard to make a case against her.

jockey silks2. Bella Nipotina (4)

Is right up there in the best crop of sprinters going round at the moment, and turned in another solid performance in the Lightning. Was no match for Imperatriz at equal weights but she get brought into the picture here. Is as honest as they come and hard to ignore, knockout chance.

jockey silks3. Buenos Noches (9)

Money has come for Buenos Noches having finished within a length of Imperatriz in the VRC Sprint and now meets her better at the weights. Showed in that race that the straight is no problem and he’s up to this level. His return in the Expressway was okay, working to the line well late but if they go slow here he is a chance of getting caught too far back. Also, yet to prove himself second-up. Not saying he can’t win but I can’t have him at the current quote.

jockey silks5. Ruthless Dame (2)

Has been good market support in early betting for this mare for Ciaron Maher and while she’s shown glimpses of it, I’m not convinced she’s up to this level. Her best performance came behind Espiona in the Invitation over the Spring and a replication of that performance would put her in the mix. Can’t be sure she’ll turn up with that here though and for that am happy just to watch.

jockey silks6. Magic Time (12)

Rupert Clarke winner who clearly has something about her and this sets up as a race she can be competitive in. Has a phenomenal record with five wins from eight career starts, and is unbeaten over the trip. She’s got so much upside and perhaps stalking the speed here, can let down and claim her second Group 1. Dangerous.

jockey silks7. The Astrologist (14)

Is a known specialist up the straight but hasn’t done anything of late to suggest he could win this.

jockey silks8. Benedetta (11)

Struggled to gather any momentum upon straightening in the Oakleigh Plate but once she got out, she put her head down and savaged the line. She’ll get every chance down the straight and seems to peak second-up. I think she only runs well here.

jockey silks9. It’sourtime (1)

Honest type who has performed down the straight previously but is a Group 3 level horse and is out of his depth in this company.

jockey silks10. Master Fay (10)

NZ galloper who comes with differing form-lines but big expectations being undefeated to date, which includes a Group win last start. This is a huge class rise but all signs point towards him running well. I won’t be playing though.

jockey silks11. Rey Magnerio (7)

Nice horse but will be outclassed by most of these.

jockey silks12. Sghirripa (6)

Forced back in the Oakleigh Plate but caught the eye in with a monster run on effort down the outside with the track/pattern against him. There’s ticks everywhere you look coming into this and while we’re all looking for the one who could upset the applecart by taking it to Imperatriz, maybe it’s Sghirripa?

jockey silks13. Skew Wiff (5)

Nice horse but I think this’ll prove to sharp for her. Wait for 1400m+.

jockey silks14. Cylinder (13)

The colt was a big drifter in betting prior to the Lightning first-up and subsequently turned in a plain effort. Godolphin have a history of targeting this race and I think with sharp improvement expected second-up, coupled with the 51.5kg, he’s got to be considered.


Betting Strategy

She’s vulnerable as the toppy, but I can’t jump off Imperatriz. I think Cylinder can improve second-up also.

jockey silks1. Imperatriz

2 units Imperatriz

jockey silks14. Cylinder

1 unit EW Cylinder