Dissident returns to racing this Saturday and will step out for the first time in the racing silks of the China Horse Club, members of the syndicate that acquired the 4yo son of Sebring for stud duties later this year after his successful spring campaignBookmakers believe he’ll start repaying his new owners immediately when he contests the Australian Stakes at Moonee Valley and have opened him up as the even money favourite. As a favourite, he’ll have to buck the trend of the last two years which saw Dissident’s stable-mate Moment Of Change ran second in last year’s edition as a short priced favourite, as did Pinwheel in 2013. On the second line of betting is the only 3yo in the race Tudor ($5.50) whilst last year’s winner Richie’s Vibe is rated $6.50 to make it consecutive victories with the consistent Hard Stride next at $7.00.
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1. DISSIDENT – B Melham (7)
Put together a stellar spring campaign, winning two Group 1’s including the Memsie Stakes (1400m) first up which took his fresh record to two wins and two seconds from four starts. Only one of his five wins has been at a distance at or below 1200m, and that was his debut victory in the Blue Diamond Preview but he’s the class galloper of the race and the best suited to the WFA conditions.
2. SMOKIN’ JOEY – C Parnham (2)
The Wez Hunter galloper put in solid efforts to run fourth in both starts over in WA – the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Kingston Town Classic (1800m), after plain efforts during the Victorian spring. Hard horse to catch, his last two wins have been when at $41.00 so reluctant to rule him out altogether but would imagine over the 1200m at Moonee Valley, he’ll find a few of these a bit too nippy.
3. MOURINHO – V Duric (5)
Deserved to win last year’s Cranbourne Cup (2025m) after narrow placings in the G2 Dato’ Tan (1600m) and JRA Cup (2040m). Hasn’t raced for seven weeks now and whilst Moonee Valley is clearly his favourite track, he has never raced below 1400m and at this level, would think he’ll find more than a couple too slick.
4. IT IS WRITTEN – M Allen (6)
Got a dream run last start and recorded his sixth win from seventeen starts on the Valley in an Open handicap (1200m), defeating Solsay by ¾ of a length. Ran third in this race last year after securing a lovely run from the inside gate and whilst he loves the Valley, his lead-up form this year doesn’t appear as strong, coupled with the rise in weight (4kgs) and class on last start, needed to see him winning that with more authority to be considered a genuine hope here.
5. HARD STRIDE – D Lane (8)
Continued his consistent from with a third (0.6 lengths), the ninth consecutive start he has finished in the placings, to The Quarterback in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) up the Flemington straight at his most recent start. That was his first outing for nineteen weeks and he raced under 59kgs so would expect the Street Sense 4yo to have taken great benefit from it. Defeated Moment Of Change in the Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) during the spring when in receipt of 7kgs and whilst they meet here at level weights, appears well positioned to run a bold race.
6. BLACKIE – C Symons (1)
Returned from a five month spell in the G3 Standish Handicap but as expected, found the likes of Decircles and Lord Of The Sky too slick up the Flemington straight and finished second to last, almost seven lengths from the winner. Fitter for that run and inevitably runs well at the Moonee track. Could be a sharp improver here with a touch of luck from the inside gate.
7. RICHIE’S VIBE – D Oliver (3)
Winner of this race last year when under the care of Tony Vasil, the 5yo returned to the stables of former trainer Paul Beshara at the start of last spring but after a disappointing effort in the G3 Theshark.com.au Stakes (7th, 5.5 lengths) back in August, was immediately turned out for a spell. A back-maker who can produce a big finish under the right circumstances and who generally performs well fresh. Previous runs for Beshara were very good.
8. AUDINO – D Dunn (9)
Strung three benchmark race victories together before failing before a poor run when stepping up to a BM 90, weakening from on-pace position to run eighth as the 3/1 favourite. Trainer Robbie Laing wasn’t perturbed by the effort and pushed on to the Listed Kensington Stakes where the son of Danerich finished ninth (3 lengths) behind The Quarterback. Steps up another level again here and will find the challenge, especially from the widest draw, too great.
9. TUDOR – C Williams (4)
Given an eleven week let-up after running a luckless ninth (4.7 lengths) behind Stratum Star in the Listed Crown Lager Stakes and resumed in an Open class race for 3yo’s at Moonee Valley three weeks ago, finishing second over the 1200m trip under 58.5kgs. Fitter for that run and worth noting each of his two victories have come when leading from the front. Expect him to take up that position from gate four and using the weight advantage, give a bit cheek.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Hard Strike pushes forward from a wide gate and will join Tudor up on the speed which will be solid. Wouldn’t think Melham wants to gets too far back on Dissident but he may have some work to do early from gate seven. He’s the class runner of the race and there’s very limited depth to the race but when asked to take $2.00 you won’t to be confident. First up from that awkward draw, over 1200m and around Moonee Valley which he sees for the first time, are factors that take away from that confidence slightly. Hard Strike and Tudor are two natural front-runners that should get a good time of it up front and on each-way basis, could be the safer option from a betting point-of-view.