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The bookies are having a hard time splitting the top two chances in the Group 1 $1.5 million Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) this weekend on Super Saturday with Home Affairs and Lost And Running tipped to battle it out down the famous Flemington ‘Straight Six’.

Home Affairs (Photo: Steve Hart) | Horseracing.com.au

Home Affairs (inside) is tipped to continue his winning ways at HQ in the 2022 Newmarket Handicap this weekend. Photo; Ultimate Racing Photos.

A quality 17-horse field is gathered for this year’s Newmarket Handicap and the Chris Waller-trained three-year-old Home Affairs looks a winning hope to make it three-from-three at the track.

In the spring the classy I Am Invincible colt posted an emphatic three-length win in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) against his own age from barrier 13 of 16.

He returned to defeat his champion stablemate Nature Strip fresh in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) with the beaten favourite missing the kick and getting no luck until late in the piece.

Fit second-up and getting back up to six furlongs, Home Affairs is at a current quote of $3.80 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the Newmarket from barrier 16 with James McDonald retaining the ride.

Three-year-olds have a strong recent record in the race including back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2020 with Sunlight and Bivouac respectively.

No three-year-old has carried 56kg to victory in the Newmarket since Weekend Hussler in 2008 however and Home Affairs will need to be good going up to that weight on Saturday.

The early Newmarket Handicap market mover firming into equal favouritism at time of publish is the John O’Shea-trained Lost And Running drawn mid-field in barrier nine for jockey Hugh Bowman.

Fourth in last year’s The Everest results before a Classique Legend Stakes second and The Hunger win over 1300m at Newcastle, Lost And Running also races second-up on Saturday.

The Per Incanto five-year-old resumed on February 12 at Randwick to carry 61kg to victory in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).

He comes back to 56kg in the Newmarket weights but is yet to race in Melbourne so needs to tick both the opposite way of running and straight track boxes to beat Home Affairs in a predicted close encounter.

“This is a race we have always had on his radar,” Lost And Runnings’ trainer O’Shea told NZ Racing Desk this week.

“The opportunity to get into the race with a nice weight wasn’t lost on us, particularly the way the weather has panned out here in Sydney.

“It was just a natural option to take.

“I think it is a nice weight. He drops significantly from what he carried the other day. It is a weight he should be competitive with.”

Waller also saddles-up his 2020 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner September Run, the now four-year-old Exceed And Excel mare at a roughie’s quote of $26 to return to her better form.

O’Shea is also in with two chances, Lost And Running to be joined by Quantico who returns looking to add to an imposing record of six wins from 10 career runs.

A five-year-old son of I Am Invincible, Quantico won three on the trot to round out his campaign last time in including his victory at this track / distance in the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1200m) on Melbourne Cup Day.

He pays $16 first-up to score an upset carrying just 52.5kg from barrier 12 with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.

The Hawkes Racing-trained 57kg top-weight Masked Crusader ($11) coming off a Black Caviar Lightning fifth and former Blue Diamond Stakes champion Artorius ($12) – third in both the Caulfield Guineas and Coolmore Stud Stakes last time in – are the other standouts in the field.

The 2022 Newmarket Handicap is scheduled to run as Flemington Race 6 at 3:40pm (AEDT) on Saturday’s nine-race card.

 

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.