Following the lead of the Melbourne Racing Club, the Moonee Valley Club has scheduled their feature race of the evening as the final event of the night. Set down for 10:00pm, it’ll be a long wait to see the first running of the Moir Stakes as a Group 1 race but, given the field of ten runners assembled, it will be a worthy one. Four of the ten are Group 1 winners whilst Buffering (who won this race last year) will be looking for that elusive Group 1 victory that has narrowly escaped him on so many occasions thus far.
1. BUFFERING – D Brown (6)
A winner of four of his five first up runs, including this race last year when defeating Ready To Rip, the son of Mossman resumes here from a fourteen week spell. Judging by his strong barrier win and recent exhibition gallop, both in Queensland, he looks set to produce another good run first up here. He’s been placed at G1 level on nine previous occasions including his most recent run when second to Linton in the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) back in June. Will sit on the speed and as always, prove hard to run down.
2. EPAULETTE – K McEvoy (4)
Claimed the G1 Doomben 10,000 as a 3yo last prep (defeating Sea Siren and Buffering) before getting too far back in the Stradbroke (finished 3.9 length tenth) and being spelled. First up last prep he ran a fantastic second to Black Caviar in the G1 TJ Smith (1200m), beaten three lengths with Bel Sprinter third. His fresh run prior to that was a third to Pierro in the G3 Run To The Roses. Unlike those two efforts though, we haven’t seen the son Commands compete in any barrier trials recently but rest assured, he’ll be ready to go and will be finishing hard.
3. BEL SPRINTER – D Oliver (1)
Unbeaten in five first up runs including the G3 McEwan Stakes (1000m at this track) and at his most recent fresh run, an ultra impressive 3 ¼ length win in the G1 The Galaxy, defeating Snitzerland. He’s been prepped for his return to racing here off a sixteen week spell with a nose second in a Cranbourne Barrier Trial just over a fortnight ago. In more recent starts, the Bel Esprit six year old has been getting back in the run but may have to be a bit more aggressive here from his inside draw with plenty of speed drawn outside him.
4. MOMENT OF CHANGE – L Nolen (8)
He resumed off an eighteen week spell with a second (1 ¾) to Kuroshio in the G2 Mitty’s McEwan Stakes (1000m) a fortnight ago. He drew the inside gate and sat on Kuroshio’s (who led) back during the race and whilst getting his chance as they turned for home, wasn’t able to pull back the 3yo who had a 6.5kgs advantage. That run, his first look at the Valley, will serve him well here and he should be able to track Buffering across and find a spot just off the speed. The Peter Moody trained galloper hasn’t missed a place in five second up runs which includes a nose second to Shamexpress in the G1 Newmarket Handicap last prep. Blinkers go on for the first time.
5. GENERAL TRUCE – N Hall (10)
After a successful autumn campaign that saw him claim the G3 D C McKay Stakes (1100m) and finish close up in the G1 Goodwood (ninth, beaten 2.2 lengths), the Brief Truce 6yo has put in two pleasing runs upon his return. Both at this track over 1000m, he’s finished strongly for a fourth behind Broken (beaten a length) and at his most recent start, hit the line hard to claim third (2.6 lengths) behind Kuroshio and Moment of Change in the McEwan Stakes. Loves the Valley (missed a place once in nine starts here) but surprisingly, hasn’t won over this distance in nine attempts (one second, three thirds).
6. CONSERVATORIUM – J Bowditch (5)
Trainer Gary Kennewell had this 6yo by Royal Academy flying when last in work. A half length second to Platelet in the G1 Goodwood was followed by a nose second to Galah in the G2 QTC Cup before he was rewarded for his efforts with victory in the Listed Eyeliner Stakes (1300m) at Ipswich. No barrier trails for his return and whilst that is not unusual for him, he’s only won one from six first up and will be better for this run.
7. LE BONSIR – M Walker (2)
Mick Price trained gelding who has earned his shot at this race after two impressive victories (both over this course and distance) from as many starts back from a spell. He camped behind leader Elite Elle last start before leaving her standing at the top of the straight and running away to win by 1 ½ lengths from Rekindled Interest. Will get the right run again from a good draw but this class, at these weights, will find him out.
8. CAPTAIN FANTZYPANTS – D Lane (9)
Pakenham Trainer Cameron Templeton looks after this 5yo by Danerich who, four starts ago, claimed his fourth career win – from seven starts, with a comfortable two length victory in a Mildura Open class race (1200m). He then came to town for three subsequent runs but on each occasion, found at least one too good for him on the day. Each of those runs was in a class of much lesser quality than this one and from a wide draw, he’ll again find more than one of his competitors too hard to catch.
9. SNITZERLAND – D Dunn (3)
First up from a twenty week spell but has been prepared for her return with a smart length win in a Rosehill Barrier Trial a week and a half ago. It follows a similar pattern to her last first up run that resulted in an ultra impressive win in the G2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm where she set a new record for the track. She’ll jump straight to the front from her draw and the Valley circuit, as it did when she claimed the G3 Champagne Stakes at this meeting last year, lends itself to her racing pattern.
10. SAMAREADY – C Newitt (7)
Fantastic effort winning the G3 The Shark (1100m) near a month ago when resuming from a thirteen month spell. She sat just off the speed from her good draw and finished to well for Chiaramonte, Anise and It Is Written, the last two have been placed since. She’s been given plenty of time to get over that run and will strip fitter here again but, the awkward draw will mean she may do it tougher in the run than some of the others.
Snitzerland to lead with Buffering coming across form his gate to keep her company. Both are proven sprinters who are capable of taking this even out. Bel Sprinter will not get as far back, or can’t afford to get as far back, as he has been in recent racing from his inside draw. He has two wins from three starts at this track with his only ‘failure’, coming in the G1 Manikato Stakes where he draw barrier two of ten. Moment of Change could be the big improver here. He’ll benefit from the first up run over 1000m given that he hadn’t trialled leading into that race and, will also be better placed jumping from a wider gate then he did last start (drew gate 1). He represents good eachway value at $9.00. Epaulette is a very smart horse and a repeat of his recent fresh runs will see him go very close here. The only concern is how far back he’ll get and this being his first look at the Valley track.
- MOMENT OF CHANGE