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Racing returns to the Valley this Saturday with nine races set down. The weather is fine, the track is soft (5) and the rail is out three metres for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (12:45) Mia Kleer Hand Sanitiser Hcp 1000m

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Back Me

Have to be with 1 Jigsaw (Bet Now: $1.60 TOP ODDS). Talented colt for Cindy Alderson that made a mess of them fresh at Caulfield five weeks ago, leading throughout and giving backers little cause for concern. He does seem a sharp short course horse, so 1000m here I like and he has class on his side.

Danger

3 Frostin’ (Bet Now: $8.00 TOP ODDS) looks the key and I’d say only real threat to Jigsaw. He resumes for Team Snowden, having not raced since the Gold Rush at Bendigo when a closing second to the then exciting prospect Starry Legend. Has jumped out well leading in and can cause problems.

Long Shot

4 Direct (Bet Now: $5.50 TOP ODDS) has the A1 form and I’m wary of him. Lloyd Kennewell trains this colt, who was aimed towards the Golden Slipper. Placed in the Silver Slipper before a down the track effort in the Todman behind Anamoe. That form just reads super for this so keen to see how he resumes. My guess is that he has bigger fish to fry, but the market will be the guide.

Race 2. (13:20) Plant Powered Cleaning Hcp 1000m

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Back Me

There is good quality to this juvenile race. Majority will likely get back and work home strongly. I hope 10 Sweet Mary (Bet Now: $4.80 TOP ODDS) takes advantage of that, can sit on speed and prove hard to run down. She was an impressive debut winner at Casterton and she smashed the clock relative to the meeting in winning. Confident she can measure up.

Danger

2 Frost Flowers (Bet Now: $4.80 TOP ODDS) is a quality filly for the Freedman camp that resumes. She was heading down the Blue Diamond path but was pipped in the Preview, then finished behind the placegetters in the Talindert. Been given a good break, like her at 1000m and should land in a plum spot from the draw.

Long Shot

6 Zapateo (Bet Now: $7.50 TOP ODDS) should prove hard to beat for James Cummings. This filly was an impressive winner on debut at Geelong. Then went to Caulfield three weeks ago where she had a good run in transit and was there to win but found one better in Libiamo. Reckon back to 1000m is a positive and she can bounce back.

Race 3. (13:55) Brompton Hcp 1600m

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Back Me

3 No Effort (Bet Now: $3.20 TOP ODDS) is a mare that is absolutely flying at the moment and no reason why she can’t win again. Led throughout and bolted in a few weeks back at Caulfield, though I will say that there was a lack of initiative from those behind, which pretty much gifted her the race. But, she puts herself on speed and out of trouble, which is certainly no disadvantage.

Danger

4 Hi Stranger (Bet Now: $3.40 TOP ODDS) is a Shane Fliedner trained gelding that should prove hard to beat here. Ran over the mile at Flemington last time out where he loomed to win when presented and for a few strides, looked the winner, but was pipped near the post by a handy stayer, Bartholomeu Dias. Was 1200m to 1600m there so he should be better for the run and is hard to beat.

Long Shot

Fascinating runner is 2 Aktau (Bet Now: $15.00 TOP ODDS), who makes his long awaited return to racing. Hasn’t been seen since the Turnbull back in October when down the track, running last behind Verry Elleegant. He does sprint well fresh and brings class, so watch the market and see what it does.

Race 4. (14:30) Mirasan Hcp 2040m

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Back Me

Biggest query of the meeting has to be 1 Buckhurst (Bet Now: $3.10 TOP ODDS) for Robert Hickmott. He has these on toast re class. It’s just a matter of where he is at fitness wise and how is he enjoying life under Hickmott. We’ve seen recently that these Team Williams runners are thriving with Rob Hickmott, so watch the yard and the market flucs.

Danger

5 Bedford (Bet Now: $4.00 TOP ODDS) is racing really well for the Freedman camp, but the query with him is a lack of early tempo. Few weeks between runs since a plain effort at Caulfield, but he was back and there was a mad on speed bias that afternoon. If he’s within range on the turn, he can win.

Long Shot

8 Nudge Bar (Bet Now: $7.00 TOP ODDS) is a Team Gelagotis trained gelding that is racing in really good form at the moment and deserves a crack at a race like this. Lovely ride from Pannell saw him bolt up at Morphettville a fortnight ago on a testing track, but was impressive in getting the job done. Harder here, but think he can measure up.

Race 5. (15:10) Dominant Cleaning Solution Hcp 1514m

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Back Me

There is talk that 1 I’m Thunderstruck (Bet Now: $1.90) could be a Group l horse after his last start romp at Flemington. If he’s going to be a Group l horse, he has to keep winning and winning impressively, so he goes on top here, but not a good thing because he is creeping up in the relative weights and Valley first time, but the last start was indeed an outstanding piece of work.

Danger

Fitter and up in trip look two big ticks for 5 Tuvalu (Bet Now: $3.80). Resumed over 1400m at Flemington two weeks ago where he was kept pretty safe in betting and tried hard, but clearly no match for I’m Thunderstruck. That form does appear quite strong and he’s got enormous upside.

Long Shot

Giving respect to 4 Great Diviner (Bet Now: $11.00) for Will Clarken. Ran on the Parks track at Morphettville two weeks ago where he was given a peach by Pannell and what I liked is that where he was there to be beaten but found plenty under pressure to fend them off. Interesting he was scratched from easier races in preference for this.

Race 6. (15:50) V Wakeful Lady Of Racing-bm78 1600m

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Back Me

Buttering up with 2 Why Choose Her (Bet Now: $9.00) in a tricky race for the Mares. Not sure she wins last Saturday at Caulfield but clearly she finishes much closer with luck in the straight behind King Magnus. Unknown at the mile, but I think Lindsey Smith has her sneaky flying.

Danger

5 Lady D’Oro (Bet Now: $9.50) is flying at the moment for the Griffiths/De Kock camp and commands respect. Tick under three weeks between runs since racing at Sandown where she got back to near last in the run and finished off with real purpose when second to Ghodeline. Just has to hold her form to be around the mark.

Long Shot

6 Leale (Bet Now: $12.00) is a Mick Kent trained mare that should put herself near the speed and run an honest race. Tough on speed win at Sandown Lakeside two back before racing on the Hillside course when fourth to Ghodeline. She’ll try hard and doesn’t have a bad record here.

Race 7. (16:30) Dominant T Harrison Cup (bm78) 2500m

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Back Me

5 Smokin’ Romans (Bet Now: $2.30) looks the one to beat. Maher/Eustace trained stayer that had been bursting to win a race and it came last start at Sandown in what turned into survival of the fittest and he was indeed the fittest in charging clear late. Now his confidence is up, he can go on with it.

Danger

3 Maserartie Bay (Bet Now: $6.00) is a stablemate of Smokin’ Romans that comes back to Melbourne after a down the track effort at Rosehill when failing to handle the heavy track. Back to Melbourne and on a firmer deck, up in trip, he can bounce back.

Long Shot

14 Pissaro (Bet Now: $9.50) is suited back to 78 grade and does have a liking for the Valley. Ran over 2800m at Flemington a fortnight ago where he tried to make a sustained run from off the speed and whacked away gamely when fourth to The Good Fight. Back to a track he likes, he’ll be a key threat.

Race 8. (17:05) Congratulations Jamie Kah Hcp 2040m

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Back Me

4 Red Santa (Bet Now: $3.80) is a Maher/Eustace trained three year old that is three weeks between runs since racing over 2000m at Caulfield. Put into a sweet spot under Jamie Kah and despite the horse doing his best to throw the race away, he got the job done. That form does look strong for a race like this.

Danger

1 Namakwa (Bet Now: $9.00) is several weeks between runs for the Maher/Eustace camp since racing over 2000m at Flemington. Did a bit of work in the run from the wide gate but stayed on and was sound in defeat behind Unique Artist. Dodged the Mahogany Final to bring fresh legs. Hard to beat.

Long Shot

3 Literati (Bet Now: $11.00) will put himself on speed and try hard. Steps back up in trip after racing over 2500m in the Mahogany Final, then came back to 1700m at Flemington when near the pace throughout and battled on well when third to Seiner’s Express. Up in trip again, senior jock on, he can win.

Race 9. (17:40) Ladbroke It (bm70) 1200m

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Back Me

10 Foxy Lady (Bet Now: $7.50) will need luck from a tricky gate, but she’s on top for me in the get out. Hasn’t raced since Mornington Cup Day back in March when down the track and not really suited by the race shape behind Ginger Jones. Has trialled/jumped out well and does tend to save her best for this track.

Danger

8 Wilmot Pass (Bet Now: $4.80) is bursting to win a race for Team Freedman. He’s racing so well in recent times but continually keeps finding one or two better on the day, the latest run being down the Flemington straight two weeks ago when pipped near the peg by Yulong Storm. Deserves a win and gets another great chance.

Long Shot

7 Rock In The Park (Bet Now: $11.00) looks to be in for a good prep. He was big odds when resuming last Wednesday at Sandown but gee he finished off his race strongly, getting up to win. If he can use gate one to advantage, I think he’ll be quite dangerous in a competitive race.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Four Number 1 Buckhurst

NEXT BEST: Race One Number 1 Jigsaw

LONG SHOT: Race Six Number 2 Why Choose Her

 

Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 2, 5, 6, 9, 10

Leg Two: 3, 5, 14

Leg Three: 1, 2, 3, 4

Leg Four: 7, 8, 10, 13

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