Racing returns to the place where legends are made, Moonee Valley, on Saturday for Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day. The feature race is the $300,000 Group ll Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) with the 2011 winner Rekindled Interest the early top pick in betting at $3.50, 20 cents shorter than the Cox Plate aspirant Green Moon.
The support card is very good also. The $220,000 Group ll Top Cut Stock Stakes (1600m) for the mares looks set to be a cracker. Moonee Valley specialist Spirit Song is the $4.20 favourite but there are plenty on her heels, including Chateau Margaux ($4.40) and Midnight Martini ($5).
The $150,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) could almost be the race of the day in terms of competitiveness. Horses such as Golden Archer, Bel Sprinter, Stratcombe and Platelet are all set to do battle for the $90,000 first prize.
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Race One: Sportingbet Handicap 1500m Form Guide
Back Me: Very keen on Forget. He did all the work last week at Flemington where he chased the speedy leader. He was left in front 500m out and did a great job to hold on for third. There doesn’t appear to be much speed here, so Rawiller can go forward and do what he likes. He is the only horse in the race who is in decent form at present. $3.20 looks ideal.
Don’t Back Me: About Square was a bit unlucky in the McNeil Stakes where he got back to last, weaved his way through the field and on the line was held up and under a hold from the rider. His barrier manners are a concern, so the inside barrier could be a disadvantage.
Big Danger: Sheer Talent was very good as well in the McNeil. He was on one rein throughout the straight and only got beat a length. Fitter, looks talented and the stable are firing at the right time of the season.
Roughie: Forget Bel Thor went around last week in the same race Forget contested. Knuckled at the start and lost all chance. With a clean getaway here, Bossy should have him in the gun spot and he can run a cheeky race at $13.
Race Two: Boscastle Plate 1000m Form Guide
Back Me: Again, get the dartboard out and throw them. Nightmare race. For a bit of value, I’ll go with Spirit Of Soul. Had trialled well before her debut on the Geelong Synthetic where she pinged from the barriers, led and kicked very strongly to win. Trainer Mick Price does have a fair opinion of this horse and he wouldn’t put her in a race like this unless she could perform.
Don’t Back Me: Certain horses need certain riders. Flying Hostess needs a very strong, aggressive rider. Luke Nolen is a wonderful hoop, but he doesn’t have the strength that a Yendall or Nick Hall has. That is my worry with this filly.
Big Danger: I am surprised that Saturn Rock opened at $9 given the form surrounding her. She has raced alongisde horses like Boban and Hoss Amor, who would give these a fair dinkum spanking. She is having her first start for Robert Smerdon and she has looked very good in a couple of barrier trials.
Roughie: Keep an eye on Spinning Diamond for Sam Kavanagh. It takes a nice horse to win on debut in a ratings race and that is what this Hard Spun filly did a couple of weeks back. Wouldn’t be shocked to see her in the money.
Race Three:Adapt Australia Handicap 1600m Form Guide
Back Me: First of my specials here today. We found out last start that Spacecraft is a dead set dry tracker. Set a very fast tempo at Caulfield and was beaten by two classy gallopers in Chase The Rainbow and Dusty Star. No weight on his back, firm track, leaders track and should get all the favours. I’m keen.
Don’t Back Me: Precedence is Precedence…He hasn’t won for a very long time. I’ll declare he won’t beat these. Now he’ll come out and probably win.
Big Danger: Ebony Rock was enormous last start in Listed company. Sat well back, came about eight/nine wide from the 700m and was only caught in the last stride or two. Drops in grade, drawn better, Williams takes over and he is another that should get a charmed run.
Roughie: Kiwi stayer Guns At Five was solid enough in his first up at WFA company in the P B Lawrence. Massive drop in grade for this bloke here and although he wants 2000m+, he seems big overs at $31.
Race Four:JRA Stakes 2500m Form Guide
Back Me: Looks a perfect race for Buxted. He was very good first up over the 2040m here before he grinded away well enough last week at Flemington to suggest he’ll be right in the mix. The key for him is that he has had experience at Moonee Valley and handled it well. And his racing style suits the track. I think the $4.30 is juicy.
Don’t Back Me: Tanby is the clear class horse in the race and deserves the topweight, but he is $2.30…That is rock bottom odds for a horse that hasn’t won for nearly 12 months.
Big Danger: Shiny Buttons is a dual acceptor, here and in Adelaide, but I suspect they’ll run here. He had no luck at all last week at Flemington. He was held up until the final furlong and by then, he had no chance. Should get a peach of a run here and be right in the finish.
Roughie: Crabs needed a confidence boost and he got that in a big way at Morphettville last start where he spanked them, thanks to a 12/10 ride by Damien Lane. Loves the Valley and now that he has tasted success, he might go on with it.
Race Five: Mitty’s McEwen Stakes 1000m Form Guide
Back Me: I like Green Birdie at a price. He hasn’t been too bad in three Australian runs, but the key here is that he is back on a firm surface, where he excelled at when racing in Hong Kong. He should get a nice run, maybe midfield on the fence on the back of a hot tempo. If he gets luck in running, he’ll go very close.
Don’t Back Me: When I first looked at this race, I was all over Golden Archer. But, I then saw the amount of pace in the race. Stratcombe, Didntcostalot, Snitzem, Platelet and Umgeton all love to roll forward. I think he might not get the breaks he has got so far this time in.
Big Danger: Another that’ll sit back and power home is Bel Sprinter. Cracking type for Jason Warren and Benny Melham. He has contested some high class sprint races in the past and looks primed for a first up showing judging by the way he trialled.
Roughie: I’ll throw in Platelet because she is so consistent. Always gives 110% and she should get the perfect sit on the back of Didntcostalot, a speed demon.
Race Six: Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes 1600m Form Guide
Back Me: I am all over Happy Trails here. Barnstorming first up win in the Spring Stakes in Adelaide before being ridden more forward in the Memsie and was only beat by Sincero, a star of the turf. There is absolutely no speed here apart from the old stager Heart Of Dreams, so Bossy should slide forward and sit on the speed or take a sit and run third/fourth in the race. From there, he can use his big finishing spurt and pinch a break on his rivals, who might need this run under their belt.
Don’t Back Me: I know Rekindled Interest is a Moonee Valley horse and has won this race in the past, but I didn’t think he was that great when resuming in the Memsie and he is $3.50 top pick in betting. Too short.
Big Danger: Every punter in Australia caught the first up run of Green Moon in the Memsie. There’s no real need to dicuss it because everyone knows how well he is going. Needs to back that up here, but the stable is flying so I’ll gamble he will.
Roughie: I’ll throw in Heart Of Dreams, only because he’ll get a very sort lead. Not sure he can win, but he could finish top four.
Race Seven: Top Cut Stock Stakes 1600m Form Guide
Back Me: Going to declare Midnight Martini. Her first up run was solid enough and her form over the past 12 months is excellent. She ran eighth in this race last year, beaten less than four lengths behind horses such as King’s Rose, Pinker Pinker and Lady Lynette. Good enough for me.
Don’t Back Me: I like Chateau Margaux as a horse. But this is a big steep in rise for her and she is the $4.40 second pick in betting. She’ll run on from the back, but I couldn’t back her at that price.
Big Danger: Spirit Song produced a nice first up run at Caulfield behind Let’s Be Happy where she sat well back and only got warm the final furlong. Loves the 1600m at the Valley and Rawiller is back on top.
Roughie: Former European stayer Never Forget has now had two strong runs in Australia and should be ready to fire third up. Gets all the favours from the rails draw and can be in the finish.
Race Eight: Chandler Macleod Stakes 1200m Form Guide
Back Me: Going for Dee’N’Gee to return to winning form. He is a leader and once he missed the start at Caulfield, it was the end of his chances. If he gets out cleanly and quickly, he’ll bounce to the lead and be awfully hard to beat. Two starts back he was beaten just over a length by Tiger Tees, who came out and bolted in last Saturday.
Don’t Back Me: That’s The One is a classy galloper when right. His last couple of runs in the Autumn wasn’t flash but I think by then he had enough. Given a nice long break now, but it’d be a big effort he can win first up.
Big Danger: Pied A Terre has plenty of talent. Took Green Moon the entire Flemington straight to beat him in the Blamey before he produced an ordinary run in the Ajax at Rosehill and then finished off his campaign with a second behind his stablemate Free Wheeling in the Hawkesbury Guineas. Unbeaten first up, classy, Rawiller riding, gun barrier, ticks all the boxes.
Roughie: Rue Maple is a Moonee Valley specialist who has been racing very well late in tough company. Has to step up in grade again, but Michael Walker, who is in cracking form, takes over, she has drawn nicely and seems good odds at $21.