Track specialist It Is Written is one of five competitors in the small field of eight vying for favouritism for the Abell Stakes, the feature race Friday night’s Moonee Valley meeting. It’s Is Written, who won this race last year after being placed in the Australia Stakes – just as he was again a fortnight ago, is rated a $5.00 chance of making it back-to-back victories. At the same quote is Charmed Harmony who was the subject of good early supporting after opening at $7.00 Early favourites are Barbed and Fast’n’Rocking at $4.00 with Tudor, who has firmed from an opening price of $5.00, threatening to join them at $4.40.
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1. FAST’N’ROCKING – D Dunn (2) 60kgs
Winner of three of his five runs last prep including the G3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m), the 4yo gelding returns from a twelve week spell and inevitable runs well fresh. 60kgs to carry first up here but has drawn to get a cheap run and with a touch of luck rounding the Valley turn, is sure to be finishing strongly.
2. IT IS WRITTEN – M Allen (1) 60kgs
He further enhanced his already impressive Moonee Valley record last start by finishing a head second to Mourinho in the G2 Australia Stakes. That was his first run in six week so expect him to be fitter again and last time he drew the inside gate at Moonee Valley, he finished third behind Richie’s Vibe and Moment Of Change in the G2 Australia Stakes (2013). He’ll get a lovely run behind the leaders here and can’t be left out of calculations.
3. BARBED – C Schofield (4) 57.5kgs
Secured a lovely run from an inside draw behind leader Ball Of Muscle when resuming in the Listed Canterbury Classic and proved a shade too strong for that horse over the final 100m, winning by a head. He then drew wide in the Listed Takeover Target at Gosford and shot across to find the lead comfortably before struggling the last furlong and finishing eighth (2.5 lengths) behind Ball Of Muscle. Found to be lame after that race, which was close to a month ago now, but has overcome that injury and been kept up to the mark with a recent barrier trial. First look at the Valley, but can bounce back with a good run here.
4. CHARMED HARMONY – D Moor (6) 54kgs
The John Sadler 5yo gelding won three of his last five runs when last in work, progressing through the grades in good style and taking his strike rate to a handy six wins from sixteen starts. Hasn’t been seen at the trials as her prepares to come back from what has been close to a six month spell but would have to think he’s continued to show good improvement given stable’s decision to take on this race, his first at Stakes level.
5. GENERAL OFFER – S Vella (7) 54kgs
Had every chance when running second (1 length) to Bishop’s Castle in a BM 90 (1200m) two starts before running fifth (2.3 lengths) to Magnus Reign last Saturday at Flemington in a similarly graded race. The General Nediym gelding carried 54kgs in both of the above runs so receives no weight advantage here despite taking on the better class of horse and from the wide gate, hard to see him running them down over the final stages.
6. TUDOR – C Williams (3) 54kgs
The 3yo punched through to sit second when taking on the older horses last start in the G2 Australia Stakes, briefly taking the lead as the field rounded the turn. The Doug Harrison colt than copped some buffering from the inside when eventual winner Mourinho made his move. After regaining his balance, he finished fifth of eight, 2.7 lengths from the winner. Better suited back to this level but only win from six starts at 1200m and beyond, was in a small 3yo Open class race. Will sit up on the speed again but record indicates there’s still some concern about his last 100m at this trip/level.
7. JUST MAGICAL – M Walker (7) 54kgs
Found a lovely spot just off the lead one off the fence last start in a BM 70 (1000m) from which position the 3yo gelding chased gamely under 59kgs to run a length second to Royal Snitzel. That was only his sixth start and he has only missed a place once however, despite the 5kgs weight drop, not sure that he’ll be able to match it with at least a few here especially when coming from what will be an awkward gate.
8. TURFANE – D Lane (5) 54kgs
We haven’t seen this Turffontein colt since he ran eighth in the Listed Living Legend Stakes (1400m) last September, a run that followed a surprising third behind Rich Enuff and Fast Cash in the Listed McKenzie Stakes here at Moonee Valley. The Saab Hasan trained galloper is still a maiden after eight starts and whilst he shown glimpses of ability in some of those races, would prefer to see him in something easier than this at this stage.
Tudor goes forward here with Charmed Harmony likely to come across from gate six. This should see Barbed land in the box seat from gate four and be given every chance; just as he was when accounting for good sprinter Ball Of Muscle two starts back. He had genuine excuses last time out and can bounce back here. It Is Written will need a touch of luck turning, especially with the 60kgs, but on track stats only rates a strong chance. Being a small field, it may be better for Fast ‘n’ Rocking to drop out and go around them. He has a good turn of foot and races well fresh.
3. IT IS WRITTEN