One-mile races on heavy turf in Australia are defining the season of the 3-year-old gelding Duke of Gordon.
Duke of Gordon won a maiden race on April 14 and his debut against winners on April 28 in races with those conditions at Wyong Racecourse. The victories give Duke of Gordon a legitimate claim as the favorite in another one-mile handicap in similar conditions at Wyong on Thursday.
The turf course is expected to be heavy, especially with a forecast of wet weather in the middle of the week.
Trained by John O’Shea, Duke of Gordon heads a field of nine in the seventh race on a nine-race program that begins at 9:40 p.m. Eastern or 6:40 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday. Wagering is available through DRFBets.com.
A New Zealand-bred, Duke of Gordon was beaten in his first three races, a ninth-place finish in his lone start in 2021 and a fourth and a third in maiden races in March. Duke of Gordon was favored in his two wins at Wyong last month. In each race, he was near the front throughout and pulled clear in the final furlong.
For this race, Duke of Gordon has three primary rivals that can record an upset or easily complete an exacta – Star Sparks, Fields of Honour, and O’Not a Doubt.
Star Sparks won consecutive starts last September and October, but was a well-beaten fourth in his 2022 debut in a seven-furlong handicap in the infield Kensington course at Royal Randwick on April 25. Star Sparks is expected to set the pace.
Fields of Honour was third in the same race as Star Sparks on April 25, closing from fifth in his first start since October.
O’Not a Doubt has considerable appeal. A winner of 2 of 3 starts, O’Not a Doubt won consecutive starts in sprints in a maiden race and a seven-furlong handicap in a two-week span last November. In his lone start this year, O’Not a Doubt closed from seventh in a field of nine to finish third in a seven-furlong handicap at Bathurst Racecourse on April 25.
The Wyong race will be O’Not a Doubt’s first start at a mile. If he handles the distance, he can be a threat to Duke of Gordon in the final furlong.
Original article: Australia: Heavy turf not an issue for Duke of Gordon (drf.com)