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Saturday racing returns to Moonee Valley this Saturday for nine races, with pretty good depth on the cards. The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.




Race One (13:00) : William Hill Handicap (78) 1200m:

Back Me: 6 Strictly Legit (Bet Now: $3.50) was a slight drifter in the market when debuting at Mornington but gee he showed a brilliant turn of speed to put the race away in a couple of strides. He then went to Caulfield a fortnight back and it was just a very messy race with several unlucky runners, Strictly Legit being one of those, eventually running third to Mystified. I think he will handle the Valley without too many qualms and rates highly.
Big Danger: 3 Gratwick (Bet Now: $7.50) comes through the VOBIS Gold Carat (1200m) here on New Years Eve where he was quite solid in defeat given he did some work to sit near the speed and though beaten on the turn, he whacked away well when third to Fuhryk. Been up for a while and has only won the one race, but he is consistent, never far away and of course has the Weir polish.
Long Shot: 7 Electric Charlie (Bet Now: $18.00) is such an interesting runner here. Hasn’t raced since Wodonga Cup Day on November 25 in a maiden where he was well fancied by most and duly saluted off the back of two excellent placings prior. Form around him does read quite well and though 1200m is short of his best, I think he has a touch of quality about him.



Race Two (13:35) : Schweppes Lemonade Handicap (78) 1600m:

Back Me: 6 La Speciale (Bet Now: $2.25) just got a mile too far out her ground when racing over the Flemington mile on New Years Day but to her credit, she did a remarkable job to finish as close she did to Domino Vitale given the pace was a crawl. Costly to follow, but she is knocking on the door and Williams steers.
Big Danger: 7 Zasorceress (Bet Now: $5.50) is a talented mare that hd her first run for Darren Weir over 1400m at Sandown at the midweeks a couple of weeks back where she got a mile back in the run and powered home late to run a close up fourth to Sword Of Justice. She was Stakes placed at 2000m in the Autumn, and we know the record Weir has with tried horses, so you can only assume this mare will have enormous upside.
Long Shot: 9 Your Divine Archie (Bet Now: $25.00) could be one to include at good odds. She is on the back up after racing at Warrnambool on Sunday where she got back to near last in the run and worked home well albeit never a winning threat when fourth to Comic Miss. She has already had market support to win here, and she is in really well weights wise after the claim.



Race Three (14:10) : Metcash Handicap (78) 2040m:

Back Me: 9 Wheal Leisure (Bet Now: $3.80) for me here at a price. She produced a lovely turn of foot to win on debut at Terang before going to the Flemington mile on New Years Day where she got back to near last in the run and really finished her race off with purpose to run a close up fifth to Gervais. Back to her own age now and is crying out for further, which she gets here. Rate her highly.
Big Danger: 1 Atlantic Express (Bet Now: $5.50) was solid in defeat two back at Caulfield behind the rising star that is Plein Ciel before going to Sandown last Wednesday where he was given a peach from Regan Bayliss, hugging the rail and driving hard to finish best. 2040m, like most engaged here, is some query, but he has the fitness edge under the belt as well as strong form.
Long Shot: 4 Sassoon (Bet Now: $8.50) came with a well timed run to win on debut at Bendigo before failing at Flemington. He then went to Sandown last Wednesday where he sat last in the small field and though never a winning threat, he finished his race off strongly to run a close up fifth to Atlantic Express. He will be suited at this trip and just needs speed in front to be a threat.



Race Four (14:45) : Ranvet VOBIS Gold Star 1500m:

Back Me: 1 Burning Front (Bet Now: $1.65) bolted up in this race last year and I think he can repeat the dose 12 months on. Poor ride didn’t help him at all two back behind Airalign before going to Caulfield where he was given a peach from Ben Allen and the horse responded beautifully for a tough but gritty win. Suited back to the Valley 1500m and the weights scale just suits him.
Big Danger: 9 Ballybrit (Bet Now: $17.00) lacks the class of the top tip, but she will get map favours on speed and saves her best for the Valley. She ran over 1800m at Caulfield last time out where she found the class rise a bit much when finishing down the track behind Big Duke. Back to 1500m suits and looks perhaps the lone threat.
Long Shot: 3 O’Lonera (Bet Now: $26.00) is a promising stayer that resumes for the Cindy Alderson camp. He hasn’t raced since the early part of the Spring in the Harry White when running fourth to Almandin, who of course came out to win the Melbourne Cup. Best form is over further, but he has a touch of class/quality about him.



Race Five (15:20) : Schweppervescene Handicap (84) 1600m:

Back Me: 4 In Fairness (Bet Now: $8.50) bolted up at this track/distance three back before a couple of solid on speed efforts at Caulfield, the latest when fifth to Bradman. Maps well out wide here, so I think she can roll forward without doing much work and she does tend to save her best for the Valley.
Big Danger: 5 Domino Vitale (Bet Now: $2.50) was confidently backed by the punters when racing over the Flemington mile on New Years Day and if you backed her, it was pretty painless because she was just in complete control and never looked like getting beat. Record at the Valley doesn’t read great, but when she is in this frame of mind, she has to be included.
Long Shot: 9 Sword Of Justice (Bet Now: $7.00) stepped up to the 1400m at Sandown last time out where he surprisingly started juicy odds and toughed it out strongly to score a narrow but decisive victory. Bit of an unknown at the mile, but he draws a soft gate and will do no work with the lightweight, so I think if he was going to see it out, this is a nice target.



Race Six (16:00) : Schweppes Sparkling Handicap (78) 2040m:

Back Me: 6 Big Duke (Bet Now: $2.05) looks the best bet on the program and one of the better bets across Australia this weekend. Former UK galloper that has had three runs down under for Darren Weir and has got better with each outing. The latest of those came on Boxing Day at Caulfield over 1800m where he bolted in and the form has been well and truly franked. Even better suited up to 2000m and he is only taking on pluggers here.
Big Danger: 3 Shikapour (Bet Now: $7.00) isn’t the most reliable horse to follow as a punter but he tries hard and is never far away. He ran over 2250m on the Parks track a fortnight back where he had a charmed run behind the tempo and hit the front at the top of the straight but couldn’t finish it off and had no answers for stablemate Gallic Chieftain. Beaten three lengths but beat the rest by four, so he’s going well and back to 2040m is ideal.
Long Shot: 9 Sherlock Holmes (Bet Now: $13.00) is the clear watch horse here. Former Aidan O’Brien galloper that is now with Team Williams and does have some solid form from Ireland behind him. Interesting to note that one of his wins in Ireland was in a 90 Handicap but debuts here in a 78. Keep in mind too that this horse has the same ownership group as Melbourne Cup winner Almandin. Big market watch.



Race Seven (16:40) : Schweppes Indian Tonic Handicap (84) 1000m:

Back Me: 7 Lady Esprit (Bet Now: $6.00) had been a bit of a tease in several runs before racing over this track/distance on New Years Eve where she was well backed late and aided by a peach from Mark Zahra, the mare burst to the front close to home and was strong to the line. Tends to race well here and despite the rise in grade, I am confident she can measure up.
Big Danger: 4 Sunday Escape (Bet Now: $9.00) had the charmed run behind the tempo in over this track/distance on New Years Eve and tried hard but just lacked the turn of foot and momentum to match it with the first two and had to settle for third. Wasn’t beaten far in the race won by Decision Time and provided he doesn’t go too hard in front here, he’ll take some running down.
Long Shot: 6 Royal Spinner (Bet Now: $14.00) is a grand campaigner who always threatens whenever he steps out on the track and has to be regarded as a knockout chance here off the back of a dominant win at Colac four weeks back when sitting off the tempo and dashing hard when presented to win comfortably. Look for him to ambush late.



Race Eight (17:20) : Sandwich Chefs Handicap (90) 1200m:

Back Me: 2 Smart Dart (Bet Now: $6.50) was thrown in the deep end when racing in the Xmas Stakes on Boxing Day at Caulfield where he had a nice sit just off the speed and he did the front for a brief period but a testing 1200m against blacktype company just saw him out late when third to Lucky Liberty. Looks much better placed at this level and the form around him prior just reads very well.
Big Danger: 4 Kievann (Bet Now: $8.00) is a track specialist who will be on speed and giving a sight, like he did over this track/distance on New Years Eve where he sat a good speed and gave a kick on the turn but he just didn’t quite see it out when fourth to Roman Fizz. Gets much needed weight relief here, and if he can get on speed without doing much work, I think he’ll run a beauty.
Long Shot: 5 Exclusive Lass (Bet Now: $9.50) is a handy mare when right but just hasn’t fired a shot for some time. She ran in the Xmas Stakes at Caulfeld on Boxing Day where she got back in the run and just stayed there in a race and a day where those nearer the speed were seriously advantaged. Hard to follow, but capable and for mine is a knockout chance here.



Race Nine (17:55) : Jacob Schweppe Handicap (84) 1200m:

Back Me: 8 Amerstralia (Bet Now: $2.20) resumed over 1100m at Caulfield a fortnight back where she was odds on most of the way in betting before being a slight drifter late and she lets the punters down when managing only a third to surprise winner Prussian Vixen. I think she will be better off here second up and I am hoping Dunn rolls forward and leads.
Big Danger: 7 Mossin’ Around (Bet Now: $11.00) also comes through the Prussian Vixen race at Caulfield and she was another that just wasn’t suited by the tempo, holding her position in the run. You only have to go back to the Spring and see she placed behind Super Cash and wasn’t far off Sheidel. That form reads so well for this.
Long Shot: 13 Powerful Story (Bet Now: $17.00) doesn’t deserve to be a $23 chance. Really liked her first up effort behind Sister Kitty Mac before going to Caulfield where she was absolutely luckless in the straight with plenty to offer when running last to Mystified. Just put the pen through that run because it was pretty much a barrier trial. Scratched from a much easier race at Cranbourne last night to be saved for this.



BEST BET: Race Six Number 6 Big Duke

NEXT BEST: Race Four Number 1 Burning Front

VALUE: Race Eight Number 2 Smart Dart



Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 6

Leg Two: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7

Leg Three: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

Leg Four: 4, 6, 7, 8, 13

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