Spirit of Boom, Shamexpress and Samaready have all gone close to winning Group 1 sprints in recent weeks and all three will line up in Friday’s William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, in what has the makings of a very interesting race. Samaready opened at $3.30 and favourite but has already eased out to $3.80. Shamexpress and Spirit of Boom are $5.50 and $6.50 respectively. Adding an interesting dimension to the race will be the two 3yo fillies entered, Gregers and Thump. Both are coming into this race with good form behind them and with only 54kgs to carry under the Weight For Age conditions, are capable of running bold races. Both have firmed slightly in betting since markets opened on Wednesday with Gregers second favourite at $5.00 and Thump $6.00.
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1. FAWKNER – C Williams (10) 58.5kgs
He resumed off a nineteen week spell to run third (4 ½ lengths) in this race last year behind Black Caviar and Karuta Queen. He was then immediately spelled again and came back in the spring to claim the Caulfield Cup and run a great sixth in the Melbourne Cup. This year he is first up off a similar break again and Team Williams often give their horses a start or two in the autumn to keep them ticking over for the spring. It worked wonders for this horse last year. Class horse but not sure he’ll have the zip in his legs now to be able to repeat last year’s effort.
2. SPIRIT OF BOOM – M Rodd (8)
A fantastic galloper who has ran second to the very impressive Lankan Rupee in G1 Oakleigh Plate and G1 Newmarket Handicap in his two runs since returning from a spell in February. The 6yo stallion hasn’t finished worse than fourth in his last nine starts, all of which have been at G1 and G2 level and there’s no better form reference at the moment than that of Lankan Rupee. In better form now than when he finished second to last in this race last year behind Black Caviar and has to be rated a leading chance.
3. SHAMEXPRESS – D Oliver (7)
Danny O’Brien’s galloper has been excellent in his past three starts, all at G1 level, running second by less than a length in the VRC Sprint and The Lightning before, at his most recent outing, finishing fourth to Lankan Rupee in the Newmarket Handicap. Had to make his run closer to the inside fence which was less than ideal in the Newmarket and he is proven under WFA conditions. Ideally would like to see him on a bigger circuit than Moonee Valley but his two runs here have been good enough and include a finishing within two lengths of Buffering in the G1 Manikato Stakes last October. Going too well to be left out.
4. FONTELINA – G Boss (6)
Anthony Cummings’ mare followed up a nose second to Rebel Dane in the G1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) last prep, with a second consecutive win in the G2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) on VRC Derby Day. She returned from her spring campaign in a hot G1 Newmarket Handicap but regardless of the opposition, was disappointing in running second to last and over twelve lengths from Lankan Rupee. She’s a better horse than that and her second up record is solid but still yet to register a place in four attempts under WFA conditions
5. IT IS WRITTEN – M Allen (2)
The 5yo loves the 1200m here at Moonee Valley, having won five of thirteen starts (placed on a further five occasions) including last week’s Listed Abell Stakes. He sat just off the pace and finished well to claim Le Bonsir; another track specialist, right on the line. The win was reward for some consistent performance over the Christmas/New Year period. Takes on G1 grade for the first time in his career and if he was ever going to have a dip at it and be successful, it’d be over this course/trip but should still found this company too rich.
6. UNPRETENTIOUS – B Rawiller (3)
Returned off a fourteen week spell in the G1 The Lightning but drawing the inside gate was not an advantage and the 5yo gelding by Stratum did well to run fifth, 2 ½ lengths behind Snitzerland, Shamexpress and Samaready. Three weeks later he stepped out as a $14 chance in the Newmarket Handicap, drew the outside and had a run in transit that should’ve seen him finish better than his ninth placing, 7.4 lengths behind Lankan Rupee. Drawn an inside gate here which may have position awkwardly in the run and in the need of some luck over the final furlongs. Smart galloper but at this level, can find one or two better.
7. SAMAREADY – C Newitt (1)
Not all when to plan when making her return in the G1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) as the $3.10 favourite. She jumped a touch slow and was squeezed up just after the start, getting back further than anticipated. Her effort to run third to Snitzerland and Shamexpress was a good one and punters stuck with her when she backed up three weeks later in the G1 Newmarket Handicap, where she was the $4 favourite. She secured a lovely run behind eventual winner Lankan Rupee but had no response to his acceleration at the 300m mark and finished sixth (5.6 lengths). Won the G1 Moir Stakes here last September in devastating fashion and a return to this track, might just be the factor that sees her record her third Group One.
8. GIG – C Symons (5)
Her opening quote of $201.00 tells the story. The daughter of Commands had been racing well in restricted company and even managed to grab third in the Listed Manifold Stakes (1400m) behind Anlon back in January, her first attempt at Stakes level. She’s first up here of nine weeks and at this grade, will struggle.
9. GREGERS – C Schofield (9)
David Hayes’s well performed filly returned from a seventeen week spell with a very good fourth (2 lengths) in the G1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) behind Lankan Rupee. A fortnight later she returned to her own age for the Mss Security Stakes (1100m) as the $2.90 favourite. She drew wide and was allocated 58kgs but after making her own run up the centre of the track, hit the line hard finishing ¾ length behind Anatina, who was afforded lovely run on the fence. Has won three of four here and her two efforts back have been rock solid. Gets her chance to run a bold race with 54kgs. Good win, but not that good that she can now be winning a WFA G1.
10. THUMP – J Cassidy (4)
Found herself in an awkward position in the run when resuming from a spell in the G2 Light Fingers Stakes and could only manage to finish seventh (3.1 lengths) behind Sweet Idea. She then got away much better in the G2 Surround Stakes at her next and most recent start at Warwick Farm and found a prominent position on the speed. On a track she enjoys, she found plenty in the run to line and secured a neck win over Real Surreal with Lucia Valentina third. Led all the way to record a comprehensive 2 ¼ length in the G3 Champagne Stakes (1200m) here last spring, defeating Miracles Of Life and this track suits her style of racing. Fit, in-form and capable of running a cheeky race.
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Thump should lead and for a sprint race, there doesn’t appear to be an abundance of speed early. Settling handy will be It Is Written and wouldn’t think the leading hopes in Samaready and Shamexpress, will want to settle too far of the leaders. Hard to forget Samaready’s win in the Moir here last spring. She hammered a better field than this by four lengths. The inside gate is the only concern but with any luck, she’d have to be involved in the finish. Shamexpress has beaten Samaready home in each of their recent starts and Oliver, from gate 7, should be able to keep on eye on her throughout. Spirit Of Boom two runs back have been first class. He’ll be hoping for a solid tempo up front look to tag Shamexpress and/or Samaready, into the race from the 600m. The query with him is will the Moonee Valley straight be long enough for him to run them down?
- SPIRIT OF BOOM