Peter Moody’s Moment of Change gets his chance to visit the winner’s stall for the first time since he claimed the G1 Rupert Clarke in September 2012 when he lines up in the G2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley this Friday night. The five year old gelding has finished 2nd three times since that win at G1 level and is the dominate $1.60 favourite for this race. Last year’s winner Sea Lord ($6.50) is back to defend his title and along with Richie’s Vibe ($5.50) is the only runner under double figure odds.
1. MOMENT OF CHANGE – L Meech (10) 58.5kgs
He resumes here off a nine week break and closed well when also resuming here last prep to run second to Kuroshio in the G2 Mitty’s McEwan Stakes (1000m). The extra 200m of this race will serve him much better this time around and although he has drawn the widest gate, it may be to his benefit around the tight Valley circuit and allow Meech room to wind him up and negotiate the turn. Only has to hold the form of last preparation to be winning here.
2. ZEDI KNIGHT – C Symons (4) 58.5kgs
Trainer Brian McCarthy’s 9yo sprinter who has just found the competition a shade too strong in recent outings. He sat on pace in each of his two starts back from a spell – the Doveton Stakes (1000m) and Christmas Stakes (1200m) – and weakened in both to run fourth and seven respectively. He loves the Valley 1200m circuit, having won five of thirteen starts with a further four placings. Will no doubt go forward again from his good draw but on his recent efforts, would expect him to find holding off the challengers over the last furlong a tough task.
3. SEA LORD – S Baster (6) 58.5kgs
Stephen Brown trained this 6yo to win this race last year by a comfortably 1 ¼ lengths and he has followed a very similar preparation for this year’s edition. He was beaten a nose in the Mss Security Stakes (1200m) up the Flemington Stakes on Cup Day before returning to the same course eight weeks later and contesting the Standish Handicap at his most recent start. He drew the inside gate in the Standish which on that day wasn’t ideal and he finished a disappointing seventh (7.9 lengths) from the winner, Flamberge. Saves his best for this track/trip (won four from five) and from the good draw, can easily bounce back.
4. IT IS WRITTEN – M Allen (1) 58.5kg
Put together a strong campaign over the spring, winning the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) and running third in the Listed Drummond Golf Stakes (1200m) over this track and trip. After a break of seven weeks, he returned with a pleasing effort in the Christmas Stakes (1200m) on Boxing Day (fifth, 1.4 lengths to Karacatis) before finding himself in front in the Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) and weakening late to finish seventh, 5 ¾ lengths behind Anlon. He is better suited back to this distance and when able to be ridden just off the speed. Boasts a good record this track and trip and at $17.00, represents good value for the exotics
5. SPOT ON TARGET – (8) 58.5kgs
The 7yo now calls the Geelong stables of Kevin Chisholm home after having being transferred from Toby Edmond’s Gold Coast establishment. The son of Markane failed to impress in any of his four starts during the middle of last year and hasn’t raced for twenty-four weeks. He hasn’t won or been placed in six fresh runs and entitled to be big price in this field.
6. TOKUGAWA – (2) 58.5kgs
The Leon Corstens’ trained runner likes this track and boasts two wins and two placing from six starts along with a fourth placing in the G2 Crystal Mile (1600m). The son of Choisir hasn’t seen much of a race track in recent years, only having had the one start since November 2012, due to consistent knee problems. Hasn’t trialled and would prefer to see what he has to produce after so much time away from racing.
7. RICHIE’S VIBE – D Oliver (7) 58.5kgs
After three close-up finishes, two of them at Listed level, the Danerich gelding deservedly won the Listed Mss Security Stakes (1200m) on Cup Day last year. Two starts later, at his most recent outing, he ran a nose second to Karacatis in the Christmas Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day. Racing well and deserves his shot at this race. Awkward draw not ideal but trust Oliver to address that.
8. GENERAL JACKSON – M Rodd (3) 58.5kgs
The well travelled 4yo has been more than paying his way for Sunshine Coast trainer Mick Mair since leaving his base in November. A win here at the Valley over 955m three starts back, was followed by a fourth placing (3 ½ lengths) to Kaiser Sun up the Flemington straight before a trip to Adelaide resulted in another victory over 1000m The class and weight conditions of this race will test him but going as well as he possibly could be at the moment.
9. BIG BUDDIE – (5) 58.5kgs
Winner of only three of his twenty-eight starts and judging by his three runs back from a twenty-two week spell, likely to struggle here. He finished with the tail-enders in both a RST 84 (1000m) and RST 78 (1200m) at his first two runs back before finishing eighth behind Laohu at Caulfield three weeks ago. Can’t make a case for him on those efforts.
10. COUNTED – V Duric (9) 56.5kgs
The 5yo mare from Colin and Cindy Alderson’s stables came from a long way back in a RST 90 (1200m) fillies and mares race last start to score a narrow win over Spending. She’ll get back here as well but the strong pace up front should suit and, albeit in weaker grade, she’s performed well at this track in two attempts previously.
Zedi Knight will lead them out with General Jackson and Sea Lord handy. Expect another big run in this race from Sea Lord if he can get in behind the leaders but Moment of Change is clearly the class runner and at set weights, should have no excuse for not being able to take care of this field. It Is Written represents value for mine and along with Richie’s Vibe, round out the top four selections.