Group l racing returns to Moonee Valley on Thursday for a star studded edition of the William Reid Stakes (1200m), where the likely favourite will be last years winner Lucky Hussler. The weather is overcast, the track is soft (5) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
Race One (18:45): Adapt Australia Handicap (78) 1500m
Back Me: Despite a shocking record at the track, I’ll take a chance on 2 The New Boy (Best Odds: $13.00). He comes back to Victoria after a two run stint at Adelaide, which yielded a win and a second. He’ll bowl along in front here and give them something to chase. The only query is that the last 150m might test him out, especially if the track has give in it.
Big Danger: 10 Raw Inpulse (Best Odds: $5.00) creates plenty of interest. This former English galloper is now with Darren Weir after a really good career in the Northern Hemisphere. For mine, he looks a horse who could be targeted towards the Warrnambool Cup, but as we know with Weir, he can get these horses to fire early on in their prep.
Roughie: A return to Moonee Valley and a drop back in grade could suit 3 Tuff Host (Best Odds: $23.00). He was ridden upside down two back behind Pemberley before getting too far back last time out behind subsequent Albury Cup winner Tom Melbourne. He won here four back and was great in doing that, and the stable do have a very good record when bringing horses to the Valley.
Race Two (19:15): Jeep Tour Of Victoria Middle Distance Final (78) 2040m
Back Me: Putting 6 Zahspeed (Best Odds: $5.00) on top. He was given a lovely ride by Boss to win over the mile at Ballarat a couple of weeks back, controlling the race from the front and kicking on strongly to beat home Mr Wonderful, who went within a lip of winning last weekend, so the form reads well and the step up to 2040m should suit this horse, who runs well on the track.
Big Danger: 7 Tenacitus (Best Odds: $3.30) steps up the 2040m after running over the mile at Ladbrokes Park last Wednesday and tried his guts out when a close up third to Native Land. He is a little query at the trip, but he is in the right stable and is hard fit, and this really isn’t the strongest race going about. Definite threat if he can get a soft trip.
Roughie: 10 Toss And Tell (Best Odds: $12.00) ran over this trip under the lights at Cranbourne and worked home well without threatening when running third to Royal Appointment. Strike rate is a little worry, but he has plenty of upside, will run the trip right out and his previous form reads very well for a race like this. Just needs to be in the clear to build up momentum.
Race Three (19:45): Ascend Sales Trophies Premium Plate 1200m
Back Me: 1 Keen Array (Best Odds: $2.60) has contested two hot races to kick off his 2016 campaign, running in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Newmarket Handicap (1200m) respectively. What I will say is that though they have been hot Group l races, he has been disappointing. The key to this horse is the drop back in depth and the search for a confidence boost. He could blow them away, but his two runs this time in don’t fill me with confidence to back him.
Big Danger: 7 Stellar Collision (Best Odds: $3.50) was three from three before running down the straight at Flemington a couple of weeks back and worked home strongly when third to the above average type Super Cash. He was an impressive winning here the start prior and should take some beating.
Roughie: 5 Gee Gee Red Prince (Best Odds: $16.00) is a talented Tassie youngster that comes to the mainland after winning on Launceston Cup Day. Gate one here and gets the services of Craig Newitt, who is in career best form at the moment.
Race Four (20:15): Schweppes Alexandra Stakes 1600m
Back Me: 8 Thames Court (Best Odds: $5.00) resumed over 1200m here last Monday and was given a lovely steer from Dylan Dunn to win in sharp fashion and looked to have a bit in reserve. 1200m to the mile second up isn’t easy, but she is up to this level for sure and last time in, she wasn’t far off Badawiya in the Edward Manifold and meets that filly 3kg better here.
Big Danger: 6 Labdien (Best Odds: $5.50) stepped up big time in grade when contesting the Kewney (1400m) and she was far from disgraced when fourth to Badawiya, and was taking ground off near the line. She won impressively over 1200m here the start prior, and you can’t rule anything out that is trained by Chris Waller, and this mare will eat up the mile.
Roughie: 11 Giddyup (Best Odds: $16.00) rises in grade, but deserves a crack at this level after an impressive win over this track/distance last Monday, and though the margin on paper doesn’t read it, she was dominant. She’ll roll along again on speed and Luke Currie rode the filly to her maiden win the start prior.
Race Five (20:45): Jeep 55 Second Challenge Heat 16 955m
Back Me: The hectic tempo will suit 3 Grane (Best Odds: $5.50), who worked home strongly last time out down the Flemington straight when placing behind Malaguerra. He tends to save his best for the Valley and he draws to a get a beaut sit off the speed. Just needs a bit of luck and he will take a power of beating.
Big Danger: 2 Sheidel (Best Odds: $2.80) creates plenty of interest. This star mare from WA is now with the Hayes/Dabernig yard who put together three stakes wins before venturing east. Has to overcome the horror draw, but any sort of luck and she’ll prove very hard to hold out.
Roughie: 11 Sweet Emily (Best Odds: $16.00) is another speedy customer who has been freshened up since failing down the Flemington straight behind Estaminet, who has since failed with excuses, so the form is suspect, but she draws a soft gate and is right down in the weights after the claim for Regan Bayliss.
Race Six (21:15): Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes 1200m
Back Me: Just looks set up for 1 Lucky Hussler (Best Odds: $3.40) to win the race again. He has been freshened up since running a mighty second to Suavito in the CF Orr (1400m), and was a touch unlucky given he got bad and badly held up early on in the straight. He loves racing at the Valley, draws a lovely gate and does have a sharp turn of foot.
Big Danger: The three year old 10 Holler (Best Odds: $4.00) is a definite threat. He was given a lovely steer from Macca to win at Group l level in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick, controlling the race from the front and kicking on very strongly when challenged. Looks the lone leader here and if he can get a cheap lead, he’ll take a power of beating.
Roughie: 8 Scarlet Billows (Best Odds: $41.00) looks the good overs in the race. She resumed against the mares down the straight at Flemington and stuck to the task gamely behind Group l performer Miss Seton Sands. She has a fabulous record at the track, gate one, Oliver on and she won’t mind a little bit of give in the track.
Race Seven (21:45): William Hill Sunline Stakes 1600m
Back Me: I am going to take a chance on 4 Noble Protector (Best Odds: $6.50). She was well backed late to win the Matron first up at Flemington but dislodged Craig Williams as soon as the gates opened. She absolutely romped home in this race last year, albeit in a much easier edition. She is hard to trust, but on her best form, she’d be beating these and handles all conditions.
Big Danger: 2 Miss Rose De Lago (Best Odds: $7.00) was smashed in betting to win that race mentioned above and I thought she was a touch disappointing when running fourth to Felicienne, beaten just under five lengths after receiving a seemingly handy run on speed. Does meet the winner 3kg better off here, fitter and Macca jumps back on.
Roughie: 13 Holy Cow (Best Odds: $41.00) isn’t weighted well compared to a couple of class mares engaged here, but I loved her recent trial at Cranbourne where she looked very good in running second. She loves racing at the Valley, will do no work from the gate and is a blowout chance at huge odds.
Race Eight (22:15): City Jeep Handicap (70) 1200m
Back Me: Best bet on the program for me here in the shape of 6 Caprese (Best Odds: $4.00). I was keen on him at a price when he ran here last Monday and it was just a nightmare to watch. Got back near last, held up badly before scouting widest to savage the line to run fourth to Magicus, beaten just over a length, but would have won in another 50m. Just give him normal luck here and he’ll just about take care of them.
Big Danger: 10 Northern Saint (Best Odds: $13.00) ran over this trip at Ballarat a couple of weeks back and stuck to the task gamely behind a really good type in Recalculate, beaten just under two lengths in a good effort. She has been thereabouts lately, and is knocking on the door to win a race. I think she gets her chance here in a very tricky race.
Roughie: 13 Little Bita Spunk (Best Odds: $41.00) won a good race at Moonee Valley two starts ago before a disappointing eighth last time out over the mile. I think he is much better over the short distances and with the claim he gets in very well in the weights. He will need some luck from the barrier but he looks to be way over the odds.
BEST BET: Race Eight Number 6 Caprese
NEXT BEST: Race Six Number 1 Lucky Hussler
VALUE: Race One Number 2 The New Boy
Quaddie (Races Five Through To Eight):
Leg One: 2, 3, 4, 11
Leg Two: 1, 5, 8, 10, 12
Leg Three: 1, 2, 3, 4, 13
Leg Four: 6, 9, 10, 13
$50 Investment= 12.50% of the dividend if successful
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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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