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A cracking program kicks off the night racing season at Moonee Valley on Friday night, with the highlight being the clash between Sepoy and More Joyous in the $500,000 Group One Manikato Stakes (1200m).

Form Guide

Race One: Super race to kick off the meeting for the three year old colts and geldings. Just leaning towards Adamantium. Ridden cold and produced strongly at the end to break his maiden status in good style at Caulfield last start. He should get a lovely run off the pace and prove hard to hold out. For exotics include Spatha, Zamorar and Hot Shoe Shufflin.

Race Two: Handy sprint race for the mares here. Psychologist has the form on the board at the track and when produced fresh. Won at this track over 1000m when resuming last time in and was much too strong for her rivals. Only the one placing in five attempts at 1200m but Hopefully Zahra can get some cover and a drag into the race. Dangers are Bel Shoes, Anabaa’s Legacy and Zeftabaa.

Race Three: First of the feature races. Forget Satin Shoes went around in the McEwen Stakes. She got flattened at the top of the straight and that was the end of her. Set weights, back to her own age and sex, drawn well, Williams takes the ride and she has a clear class edge on her rivals. If she brings her best, she’ll blow these away. For multiples put in Emerald Downs, Platelet, Miss Stellabelle and De Lily Lightful.

Race Four: First heat of the 55 second challenge, which is a scamper of 955m so look for horses that will settle in the first half a dozen or so. With a massive 5kg drop in weight, I’m going for value in Ortayga. His run two back behind Zaira was solid given he was wide without cover all the way before he went to Betfair Park and ran a credible fourth behind Typeface after settling on the speed. If he holds up well from barrier one and sits off the speed, he looks the value hope given he should be at his peak in fitness now. Definitely Ready, Happy Angel and Jeteven are a few to throw in for quinellas/exactas/trifectas/first four.

Race Five: The JRA Cup has always been a good guide for the big races and it appears that the 2011 edition won’t change that due to the fact it has attracted a brilliant field. I actually think Domesky is a good thing here. His two runs this prep have been very good. Got home nicely at Betfair Park before having no luck in the Dato Tan Chin Nam, only getting clear over the last 50m. A step up in journey, as well as the return to handicap weight scale should see him run a much improved race. Linton, Rekindled Interest, At First Sight and Domesky look the main threats.

Race Six: The mouth is already drooling waiting for this race. The young kid Sepoy up against Sydney’s Queen Of The Turf in More Joyous. It shapes up to be one of the best editions of the Manikato for a long time. I can’t see anything threatening these two. They look far too superior here. But I am going with More Joyous. She is the proven star who is a five time group one winner. She flies fresh and her trials have been superb and her work has been the best that has been produced on the Randwick track for a while. Sepoy is going to have been every bit as good as we think he is if he is to get near this grand lady. He is a danger, as is Atomic Force, Sister Madly and Rue Maple.

Race Seven: I think Zabeelionaire will win the Victorian Derby, but I reckon he’ll win here as well. Ran a strong race on debut in the McKenzie before flashing home for a super second over 1500m behind Whisper Downs. He has the upside, he’ll lap up the mile and I believe he’ll be good overs. Great each way bet for me. Exotic players are Chase The Rainbow, Sabrage and Rock Musician.

Race Eight: Woorim looks like the best bet of the night. The track was too hard for him last Saturday and he did finish second last, but he ran the second quickest final 200m of the race. We all perceive him as firm track horse, but now as he is getting older, I think he appreciates the give in the ground now and that’s what he’ll get here. Browne will do whatever he feels is best from the barrier and even with the 61.5kg, he should be beating these and beating them comfortably. Dangers are Ginga Dude, Rockpecker who gets Williams back on board and Elusive King, who will be fitter.

BEST BET: Race Eight Number 1 Woorim

NEXT BEST: Race Five Number 8 Domesky

VALUE: Race Seven Number 5 Zabeelionaire

Written by Adam Page

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