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  • 17:36:30 AEST
  • Saturday, 21 April 2018

BNA Gutless Stakes - the biggest flops of the 2017 Spring Carnival

Tagged: Spring Carnival

We've assembled a field of flops over the Spring. Who do you think will win?

With the curtains drawn on another Spring Carnival, many punters have been left bruised and battered after a gruelling few months which saw the bookies come out on top.

Twelve of the 28 Group One victors were in double figure odds with an average winning price of $15.49, or $17.21 if you exclude Winx’s unbackable odds in the Golden Rose, the Turnbull and Cox Plate. In more grim reading for punters, only 28% of favourites won the biggest races this Spring in comparison to 39% last year.

Punters grew sick and tired of backing horses who promised so much but delivered so little, producing gutless and pathetic runs and draining the spirits and wallets of their followers in the process. The familiar sounds of cheers and high fives in betting rings were drowned out by jeers and four-letter profanities as form guides were reduce to confetti.

We've pushed the biggest flops over Spring into the stalls, set the red light flashing and compiled the form guide. It's the 2017 BNA Gutless Stakes, their final chance for salvation in 2017.

Who will win and who will disappoint punters yet again?


2017 BNA Gutless Stakes Form Guide

#1 Hartnell

Spring Form: 4: 0-2-0

Coming into the Spring, Hartnell had been touted as the second-best horse in the land after becoming Winx’s understudy for so long. The James Cummings trained mare started three consecutive Group One’s as favourite and disappointed each time, finishing second in both the Underwood and Makybe Diva Stakes before running a woeful ninth in the Caulfield Stakes. Hartnell then capped off a Spring to forget by finishing fourth-last in the Melbourne Cup.

Predicted finish: based on his downward trend, last.


#2 Tom Melbourne

Spring Form: 7: 0-4-1

He's the punter’s favourite for all the wrong reasons. Forged a reputation as a professional place getter over the Spring after racking up four seconds and a third after six starts. Just when all the stars were aligned for Tom Melbourne to finally breakthrough for his maiden Group One win in the Railway Stakes, he couldn’t come up with the goods. He got a dream run but finished third.

Tom is the mate who keeps promising the world but delivers an atlas.

Predicted finish: 2nd  - where else


#3 Spieth

Spring Form: 4: 0-1-0

Narrow misses in last year's Darley Classic and this year's Black Cavier Lightning had many thinking that a maiden Group One victory was inevitable for Spieth this Spring.

After an impressive trial win, the Bryce Heys trained sprinter ran a commendable second to Redzel first-up in the Group Three Concorde Stakes. Then it all went downhill from there.

Starting short-priced favourite in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes at his favoured Flemington, Spieth came second-last with jockey Corey Brown left dumbfounded as to what went wrong. A disappointing run in the Manikato Stakes followed and then the stallion’s horror Spring was finalised in the Darley Classic where he came last.    

Predicted finish: fighting it out with Hartnell at the rear.


#4 English

Spring Form: 4: 0-1-0

There was plenty of hype surrounding the Waterhouse-Bott trained English after the announcement that she would take up the TAB slot for the inaugural running of the Everest. The first-lady of racing was bullish about the sprinter’s prospects, claiming she was the champion filly of her generation as a Group One winner at weight-for-age level and a Randwick 1200m specialist.

After an encouraging runner-up in the Group Two Premier Stakes, the mare came crashing back to earth after finishing midfield in the world’s richest turf race. A last place in the Manikato Stakes put an end to her miserable campaign.

Predicted finish: expect her to fly out of the barriers and then fall away when it matters.


#5 Champagne Cuddles

Spring Form: 5: 0-4-1

After looking at her record, it would be safe to assume that Champagne Cuddles was eating from the same hay bale as Tom Melbourne over Spring. The Bjorn Baker filly ran five places over the carnival including four consecutive seconds. Each run gave punters a reason to back her again in her next outing, however each time she proved to be the bridesmaid who had too much champagne and in need of cuddles.   

Predicted finish: flashing home for a dead heat for second with Tom Melbourne.


#6 Chautauqua

Spring Form: 4: 0-0-0

Many touted Chautauqua as the best sprinter in the world after his Group One TJ Smith victory in Autumn, however the ‘grey flash’ never got going this Spring.

Three disappointing runs at Randwick including a fourth in the Everest left many to think that the seven-year-old was past his best. It even seemed as though the John Hawkes trained gelding was frustrated by his own form after refusing to walk into the barriers in the Manikarto Stakes. Chautaqua then had one final shot at salvaging something out of his campaign in the Darley Classic however flopped on his favoured Flemington straight.

Predicted finish: a late scratching at the stalls.


#7 Almandin

Spring Form: 4: 1-1-0

A controversial inclusion given an early win in his preparation, it was Almandin’s form following that run that left many punters reeling. The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner finished unplaced in the Group Three Bart Cummings at Flemington however excuses were afforded and the star stayer was listed as favourite to defend his title in this year’s Cup. The favouritism tag seemed all too much however as he finished a disappointing 12th with jockey Frankie Dettorie claiming he was flat, much like the wallets of punters who backed him. With one last run in a weak Zipping Classic field, Almandin finished a disappointing second behind Taj Mahal, cementing the gelding’s acceptance into this race.

Predicted finish: 1st - he's the only runner in the field who proved he can win during the carnival. Expect a poor showing now that he’s favourite however. 

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