Belmont plays host to yet another Group 3 for the middle-distance gallopers over 2000m, the Strickland Stakes. A very similar field has been assembled to both the Belmont Sprint and Hyperion Stakes with seven of the nine runners starting in both lead-up races. Perfect Jewel and The Velvet King made the quinella in both those runs and top the market again here with Mississippi Delta on the third line of betting. The Velvet King maps to lead this on his own terms, with Noir de Rue and Taxagano likely to settle handy to the pace.
Saturday racing tips for Strickland Stakes 2020
Perfect Jewel @ $3.10 Sportsbet
Perfect Jewel won both the Belmont Sprint and Hyperion Stakes in dominant fashion, which makes it hard to look past the 5yo here. The Redoute’s Choice mare is a genuine Belmont specialist with three starts for three wins at the track. Patrick Carberry partnered her in both wins this time out and will be hoping to make it a feature hat-trick on the mare. She will get back from barrier eight but shouldn’t be too far away in the small field. This will be Perfect Jewel’s first start over 2000m, but her dominant win over a mile last time and her two-length Group 3 victory over 1800m at the end of her last preparation suggest the extra distance will be no trouble at all. She is the deserving favourite and can make it three on the bounce.
Mississippi Delta @ $3.40 Sportsbet
Perfect Jewel’s stablemate Mississippi Delta hit the line very nicely last start over a mile and will be suited by the rise in trip to 2000m, where she has won twice before (D: 3:2-1-0). At both starts this campaign, the High Chaparral mare has settled midfield or worse and rattled home crying out for more ground. William Pike retains the ride on the Perth Cup winner and has an impeccable 31% strike rate for Grant and Alana Williams. Barrier four will suit the mare, allowing her to relax and get in a good rhythm before using her turn of foot in the straight. She looks the main danger to the favourite.
The Velvet King @ $3.10 Sportsbet
The Velvet King has run second in all three outings this campaign, and twice as a favourite, much to the pain of punters around the nation. It will be the gelding’s first attempt at 200m, which is a concern considering his eight-length defeat in the 1800m Kingston Town, albeit in Group 1 company. He should get a soft lead that will help his chances at staying the trip, while the draw in barrier seven will allow Mitch Pateman to roll across the face of the field. The Velvet King is going well enough to win this and has been lengths better than a number of his opposition here, but can he get the 2000m?
$70 win Perfect Jewel
$30 win Mississippi Delta Sportsbet