Saturday Speed Clash

Speed clash on Saturday will be a highlight

King of Speed - Redoutes's Choice Horse Of The Year - Lankan Rupee

King of Speed – Redoutes’s Choice Horse Of The Year – Lankan Rupee

The world’s three highest-rated sprinters threaten to scare off rivals and produce the smallest field in 141 years of the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Saturday

Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee and Terravista, who ran the ­trifecta in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) in the spring, are all lined up.

Craig Newitt will fly in from Singapore again to ride Lankan Rupee.

And three-year-old Brazen Beau, who won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight in the spring, is regarded as a genuine threat with only 52kg.

The market suggests the quartet has a mortgage on the race — the next in TAB betting are West Australian Watermans Bay and Oakleigh Plate fourth Vain Queen at $21 and the latter will not run.

“Those super sprinters have frightened me off, as they have a lot of other trainers,” Vain Queen’s trainer John Sadler said.

“I would prefer to look at the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, where you have a chance of winning than running a nice fifth in the Newmarket against that lot.

“But the Newmarket will be a great contest between the top four. What a showdown.”

Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said he could understand why the four stars had frightened off the ­opposition.

“There is not just one star, but the three highest-rated sprinters in the world to contend with in this race,’’ he said.

Straight-six specialist Chautauqua lines up for Team Hawkes in Victoria’s premier sprint.

“Then there is Brazen Beau, who has won at Group 1 level down the straight and he carries only 52kg. It is understandable nobody wants to tackle them, but nonetheless it is shaping as a super race ­between the best of the best in world sprinting.”

The Victoria Racing Club pays down to eighth place — a handy $20,000 — and expectations are that only seven or eight gallopers will accept on Wednesday.

The smallest field was in the first Newmarket in 1874, when Maid Of Avenel defeated eight rivals. Super mare Alinghi won in 2005 in a field of 10.

The superiority of the top three fancies, despite their need to establish or equal records to win, has elevated the Newmarket to the highlight race of the carnival.

Last year’s winner Lankan Rupee will carry 58.5kg and must equal the metric weight-carrying record of Hay List (2012) to win. He would be the first galloper since Razor Sharp in 1983 to win back-to-back Newmarket.

Terravista, with 56.5kg, would be the first horse since Polycrates in 1917 to win the race first-up.

Chautauqua will carry 55.5kg.

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