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Spanish Love has stamped herself as a mare on the rise with back-to-back city wins and is well-placed to continue her march through the grades at Moonee Valley.

The daughter of High Chaparral represents one half of a strong Moonee Valley representation on Saturday for trainer Mark Kavanagh as he saddle up favourites in the first two races.

The meeting has been pushed back three hours because of expected hot conditions in Melbourne and will start at 4.35pm (AEDT), with the last race at 8.30pm.

Last-start runaway Kyneton maiden winner Wild Rain is a clear-cut favourite in the Slickpix Handicap (1000m) for fillies before Spanish Love steps out in the LF Sign Group Handicap (2040m) attempting to add to recent wins at Moonee Valley and Flemington.

Spanish Love stepped up to 1600m for the first time at Moonee Valley last month in a fillies and mares maiden and sprinted quickly when a gap appeared to put her rivals away by 2-1/4 lengths.

Kavanagh backed the mare up at Flemington eight days later in a benchmark race against her own sex and she won again, chasing down Native Land.

“She has trained on nicely and she looks better suited kept to the mares’ grade on Saturday although she is up in class a bit,” Kavanagh said.

“Both her wins have come as soon as she got to a half-suitable distance at a mile. She always raced at too short a distance but she wasn’t ready to go any further at that point because she was a bit highly strung.

“She’s a winner at the track and it looks as though 2000 metres is going to suit her better.”

After over-racing in blinkers for the first time at Moonee Valley, two starts back Wild Rain had the gear removed and she proved a class above in an 1100-metre maiden at Kyneton on December 22, scooting along to score by eight lengths.

“She has trained on well and her sectionals were excellent at Kyneton,” Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh said Wild Rain appeared best kept to sprint trips, ruling out the possibility of the Magic Millions Guineas on Saturday week.

 
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