Last year’s winner Burning Front headlines the field for the $100,000 VOBIS Gold Star at Moonee Valley and on ratings he is the horse to beat again.
With a handicap rating of 103, The Darren Weir-trained gelding is nine points above his nearest rival in the field for Saturday’s 1500m race and under the set weights plus penalties conditions gets in on 60kg.
Bendigo trainer Shane Fliedner will run Diamond District in the event which he admits is a test for the last-start Echuca winner who will only receive two kilograms off Burning Front despite being 34 points lower.
Diamon District is 25 points below Burning Front’s stablemate Refulgent who also has 60kg.
The race is restricted to VOBIS Gold qualified horses which was the lure for Fliedner to head to the Valley.
“He’s in it because it is a VOBIS Gold race,” Fliedner said.
“He won over 1400 metres last start and I think 1500 would be as far as he’d want.
“It’s a good race and he’s badly weighted because of the structure of the race.
“But you have to find out whether the horse will get a trip sooner or later and it just fits in with other races coming up.
“It’s a test. He’s a VOBIS Gold horse and you don’t get many rolls of the dice. And you never know, he’s been to Moonee Valley once and ran second over 1200 metres.
“I think he’s ready for the race, if he’s up to it.”
Diamond District has won three of his 18 starts and run second nine times.
He has only raced twice on city tracks with a placing at Moonee Valley in late 2015 in benchmark-64 grade.
Burning Front won the VOBIS Gold Star by 2-3/4 lengths a year ago and heads into the race off a last-start win over 1600m in an open handicap at Caulfield last Saturday week.