Nine races will be run and won at Moonee Valley this Saturday where it is McKenzie Stakes Day. The weather is fine, the track is soft (5) and the rail is out four metres for the entire circuit.
Race 1. (12:20) Paramount Liquor Handicap (78) 1600m
I’m going to take a punt on 9 Stealthy Lucas (Bet Now: $26.00 TOP ODDS) first up. This bloke has shown good ability since day one but probably hasn’t quite lived up to the early hype. He’s had two jumpouts in readiness for his return and loved the way he attacked the line to win a jumpout at Casterton last week. These 78 races are generally wide open so I’ll go with him each way.
1 Shot Of Irish (Bet Now: $4.00 TOP ODDS) is on the seven day back up after racing over 1400m at Caulfield last Saturday when just off the speed throughout and trying hard but couldn’t reel in the above average Age Of Chivalry. That form reads far superior to just about anything engaged here. Just a query on the mile. Did do a nine day back up in the Autumn and placed so a quick turnaround should be fine.
Bit surprised that there is near $20 on offer for 2 I Boogi (Bet Now: $21.00 TOP ODDS). Was on him when he won here three weeks ago and yes, there were a couple of unlucky runners in behind, but Lane really only had a chance to get stuck in the final few strides and it was mainly hands and heels, so it was soft. Tricky gate, but Lane does ride him better than any other rider and looks silly odds again.
Race 2. (12:55) Sweeney Estate Agents Handicap (78) 2500m
This is a lottery. Going to have a throw at the stumps via 14 San Remo (Bet Now: $13.00 TOP ODDS). He just went way too keen over this track/distance three weeks ago and rightfully faded out of the finish behind More Than Ever. Steve Baster had ridden the horse very well in the couple of runs prior and we know he’s very good when riding an on speed horse. $20+, he’s worth something small each way.
11 Dabiyr (Bet Now: $3.80 TOP ODDS) is a Chris Waller trained galloper that toughed it out strongly to win two back at Sandown before going to the 2000m at Flemington where he didn’t stop chasing and was good in defeat behind the in form Charossa. Up to 2500m and slightly back in depth, he looks set to peak and appears one of the hardest to beat against these bunch of stayers.
8 Another Eclipse (Bet Now: $13.00 TOP ODDS) looks as if he’s heading down the jumping path soon given he’s had a few hurdle trials recently. He did run over 2400m at Sandown last time where I thought Jamie Mott gave him a good ride near the speed and the horse tried hard but couldn’t get there when third to Mirimar. Had a tick over jumps trial at Traralgon. The 2500m is no issue…just a query on whether or not he has change up speed.
Race 3. (13:30) Palentino First Crop Plate 1200m
Hoping that the class of 1 La Tene (Bet Now: $21.00 TOP ODDS) gets her home. James Cummings trains this filly and we saw what the stable produced with their three year olds last Saturday. This girl won the VRC Sires last prep, beating Dalasan, who of course beat two Group l winners last Saturday to well and truly tick that form off. Trial in Sydney was just fair (without blinkers), but they went on in a Flemington jumpout and she looked much better. In her corner, just.
4 Meuse (Bet Now: $8.50 TOP ODDS) is an interesting runner. She won 2/2 to start her career in the Autumn, the second win coming at Caulfield, and she was tipped out soon after. The recent Mornington jumpout was very plain to the eye I thought and off that, I couldn’t back her, but you don’t bet on trial, you bet on what’s done on race day and she’s yet to be beaten.
8 Really Discreet (Bet Now: $13.00 TOP ODDS) is a filly I’ve had time for since day one. Did good things for me at big odds when winning on debut at Sandown before being thrown in the deep end behind La Tene in the Sires and was far from disgraced before looking a tired horse at Mornington. Two trials leading in have been great…just where she gets to from the draw is the query.
Race 4. (14:05) Dr Sheahan Plate (84) 1200m
I said on Twitter that a couple of Saturdays back that Linda Meech can have the title of Dame Linda Meech, Australian of the Year…whatever she wants, after getting New Universe home, a bludger. A bigger bludger is 7 Angelic Spirit (Bet Now: $21.00 TOP ODDS) and Meech takes the ride. This mare has been terrible this prep but the big key is Meech on. She’s had three rides on the mare for two wins. A win wouldn’t shock at all.
Forgiving a horse on below par run in the shape of 10 Street Icon (Bet Now: $6.50 TOP ODDS). Fitness beat her first up when narrowly beaten by Gododdin before racing there again when doing a bit of work in the run and feeling the pinch late behind Algadon Miss. Reckon the month between runs will have done her the world of good and she does look to find a winnable race here.
3 Fragonard (Bet Now: $18.00 TOP ODDS) can bounce back here. James Cummings trains this mare, who hasn’t raced for over a month since being ridden upside down at Flemington and was found wanting late behind Shokora after setting a good speed. She’s much better as a sprinter and with a cold ride, which she should get here. Her best is good enough to beat these.
Race 5. (14:45) Carlyon Stakes 1000m
I think less said the better re the ride on 3 Assertive Approach (Bet Now: $2.50) from two weeks ago at Flemington. Let’s just say he should be unbeaten. The start prior he comfortably held what should be a Group l winner in Behemoth. He looks a proper short course speedster…don’t hold on the handbrake when you have sustained speed. Let the horse use his best asset – speed.
2 Bons Away (Bet Now: $3.50) is just a level or two down below Group l level and this looks his mark. He’s been a good sprinter for a few seasons now and keep in mind was brilliant when winning first up last prep, beating then boom three year old Written By. Trialled up quite well at Cranbourne recently and his best efforts recently have come when produced with fresh legs.
5 Spirit Of Valor (Bet Now: $4.50) is a huge query. Formerly with Aidan O’Brien, he’s now under the care of the Maher/Eustace stable. He had a three run Spring prep last year, highlighted by a second in the Manikato behind Brave Smash. Liked the way he went about it in his trial effort behind Bons Away. He clearly has class. Just depends where he is at re fitness levels.
Race 6. (15:25) Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap 1519m
7 Romancer (Bet Now: $2.80) is clearly the one to beat on current form. Grahame Begg has this bloke going very well this time in. He ran over 1400m at Flemington last time when wide throughout but stuck to the task very well in defeat behind Vinland. Gets the claim again for King, draws well, firmer footing…the only knock I have is that what upside has he got left.
Going to make a case for an on speed horse in 10 Strike Force (Bet Now: $10.00), who found some winning form last time out on a testing surface at Bendigo, lumping 58.5kg and showing good ticker when challenged to get the job done. He has an outstanding record at the track, he’ll roll forward and will only carry 52kg after the claim. Jump and run I’m hoping from Poy.
Fascinating runner is 1 Volkstok’N’Barrell (Bet Now: $13.00), a former Donna Logan runner that is now with Danny O’Brien. He was a star in NZ before going with Logan to Singapore where he failed to fire. Now back in this part of the world and is with O’Brien. 1500m is well short of his best trip, but he does have class on his side and that alone could well get him home.
Race 7. (16:05) McKenzie Stakes 1200m
I’m going to give 9 Deep Force (Bet Now: $7.00) the nod. Been a big fan of this horse since day one. Did the job well on debut at Morphettville before going to Murray Bridge (Metro) two weeks ago when leading and copping pressure but at the same time was very disappointing and tired late to run third. Nothing found in the Stewards Report so either there was something found at home and he bounces back, or he’s not as good as I think. Hoping it’s the former.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the way that 1 Hightail (Bet Now: $3.50) has been trialling in readiness for the Spring. This bloke is now a gelding and it looks to have been the right move if the trials are any guide, especially his latest trial at Randwick when winning by nearly six and doing it rather comfortably on speed. He’s always showed talent. Hopefully he can showcase it here.
6 Skiddaw (Bet Now: $27.00) is a son of Hinchinbrook who had a little freshen up prior to racing over 1000m here three weeks ago where not much went his way in behind the speed and should have finished a tad close behind Condo’s Express. Like him up to 1200m and I think he’ll be much better suited when having clear air from the outset and sitting near the pace.
Race 8. (16:45) Ranvet Handicap (90) 1200m
9 Usain Bowler (Bet Now: $4.60) has come back in super order for John Sadler. Poor ride cost him first up down the Flemington straight before sitting off a good speed at this track/distance three weeks back and he finished best to win impressively. Form out of it has been good with Age Of Chivalry winning last Saturday. Looks one of the hardest to beat.
8 Terbium (Bet Now: $2.80) is an above average gelding for Phillip Stokes resuming. This bloke won his first four starts in outstanding fashion, including a dominant win in the Zeditave. Given a break and ran in the Euclase at Morphettville when close up behind Valour Road. Been given a good spell and really liked the way he went through his gears in a recent Cranbourne trial. Has the class/quality to win.
I can make a little case for 7 Holbein (Bet Now: $15.00). Steve Richards has tried to get this horse to be a 1400-1600m horse and while he has been running okay, he hasn’t been winning. Been given a freshen up, a jumpout at Flemington and loved the way he looked there. Was keen and trucking down the straight and looked very full of himself. Jump and run at 1200m, he’ll take some catching.
Race 9. (17:20) MSC Signs Handicap 2040m
Can’t ignore or go past the way 13 Tavirun (Bet Now: $5.00) is going about his business. He’s won three on end, the latest coming four weeks ago over 2400m at Caulfield when doing work on speed but was just far too good for his rivals and was dominant once again, like he had been the two starts/wins prior. Hardest test to date here, but he’s in a real purple patch and a strong 2040m should be fine.
3 Masculino (Bet Now: $6.50) is racing consistently this time in. Hasn’t been far away of late, the latest run coming at this track/distance three weeks ago when near the speed and trying hard but Inverloch just had a picnic in front and was far too good for them in leading throughout. He’s got another win in him as Masculino and I reckon he gets a great chance here.
1 Ventura Storm (Bet Now: $34.00) is a handy stayer who I thought could run a cheeky race fresh over the mile here three weeks back but just didn’t have the change up speed to go with them late and beat a couple home behind New Universe. Big ticks are that he’s fitter, he steps up in trip and is a Group winner over a staying trip here from the Spring, and does have class.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Eight Number 9 Usain Bowler
NEXT BEST: Race Five Number 3 Assertive Approach
LONG SHOT: Race One Number 9 Stealthy Lucas
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 1, 4, 7, 10
Leg Two: 1, 9
Leg Three: 7, 8, 9, 13
Leg Four: 1, 3, 4, 7, 13
$50 Investment = 31.25% of the dividend if successful
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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