As is the usual occurrence in the summer, we head to the famous Moonee Valley for Friday night racing.
We have an eight-race card with the feature coming in Race 6, a benchmark 78 over 1200 metres for the fillies and mares. It’s predicted to be a lovely summer’s day in Melbourne, with it staying at around 23 degrees all day. It’s always a great night at the Valley, so get down to the track!
We kick off the night with a maiden for the two-year-old fillies over 1000 metres. It’s always tricky with so many first starters, but Loving Gaby looks a big chance in a very open race. Her trial at Pakenham was very impressive – she came from near last on the turn to make up at least seven or eight lengths to win that trial under a hold. She’s been a late scratching a couple of times this week, so the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace camp has obviously identified this race as a very winnable one for her. From barrier three Zahra should look to sit about midfield and with luck will be hard to hold out.
Oriental Lilly looks like one of the main dangers. She won her trial impressively at Cranbourne before getting too far back on debut at the Valley. She had really good closing sectionals that day and if she can sit a bit closer in the run, she has to be a big chance. Snowden Racing loves these types of two-year-old races.
Excelida is next best. We haven’t seen a trial from her, but she is bred very well out of Exceed and Excel and Iffraaj. The Regan Bayliss and David Hayes combination is very impressive as well.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.8 Loving Gaby.
Another maiden here in the second, this time for the three-year-olds at set weights over 1200 metres. Pretty smart maiden here with some progressive types; however, I’m keen on Sequitur. This filly out of Hawkes Racing is bred extremely well, out of So You Think and Pontiana (Redoute’s Choice). She trialled really well at Rosehill behind Bold Arial before having her first race start at Sandown, where she was beaten by a smart one in Alexandra Dreaming. She went to the paddock after that and she resumes here after nearly six months out. I expect her to have learnt a lot and bulked up since we last saw her, and from Barrier 1 she will go straight to the lead and be very hard to run down.
Duke Of Magnus is the big danger. He ran in some very smart maiden’s last preparation, behind the likes of Smart Elissim, another bit and Saccharo. He returned first up at Geelong where he ran on very well and had brilliant closing sectionals to only miss by just under a length. He should be fitter for that run and from Barrier 8. Jye McNeil should try and sit handy and have the first crack at them in the straight.
The Great Bratski is probably the best roughie in the race. She does step up in class her from placing at country level, but her racing pattern suits the Valley down to a tee, and if she can get a break on them, she might prove hard to run down.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.8 Sequitur.
We have a proper staying test here in the third at the Valley – a BM70 over 3000 metres! It’s a pretty open race, with at least four live chances, but I’m pretty keen on Bringit out of the Darren Weir yard. He’s been running really well this preparation, running behind Negasi three starts back and then beating true gent two starts back at this track. He was thrown in the deep end at Flemington last start in the listed Bagot Handicap, where he was completely outclassed by the likes of Etymology and Berisha. He comes back in grade here and from Barrier 3 he should sit midfield and be very hard to hold out.
Blue Jay Way is a very progressive type. She beat the likes of Here Comes Lenni two starts back before being caught wide and finishing three lengths of Negasi two starts back. She was disappointing when caught wide last start at Geelong, but she still came home strongly and looked like a horse that wanted to go further. This is a big rise in distance, though being bred out of American and Lunar Lights, she should be able to get it. She will settle back and be running on strongly.
Benall is next best. He’s a proper two-miler – he doesn’t win out of turn, though, and will need some pace in the race to be a chance.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.2 Bringit.
We have a benchmark 70 handicap over the mile here. It’s not the greatest race on the card and there are a lot of live chances, but Senrima Tide looks hard to beat here. This Mick Price-trained gelding has been running really well lately. He got too far back at Seymour and stormed home to only finish just under two lengths off the winner, and then he sat on the speed at Sandown last start and saw of Cincinnati Red when challenged. From Barrier 3 Benny Melham should sit him on the speed again, and hopefully he puts a break on them around the bend.
Never Again has been in good form this preparation, winning two out of three, including a win over both Ultra Smart and Sunquest. He wasn’t disgraced up in class at Caulfield last start, running five lengths off the progressive Groundbreak. From Barrier 4 he draws to do no work and should have plenty left in the tank to make a run at them in the straight with any luck.
Dane Thunder is probably a tad of overs in this market. He ran four lengths behind Sherriff John Stone and Fifty Stars and then ran only three lengths behind Superhard and Haunted. He resumed at Flemington, where he chased steadily in the straight to finish three lengths off the ultra-talented Rox the Castle.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.9 Senrima Tide.
It’s time for the annual 955-metre sprint, which is a BM78 handicap. It’s a very interesting race here, with most of the field having claims. I’m going to steer clear of the favourites and go for some value in Sir Donald. The Greg Eurell-trained gelding has been racing in a much better grade than this, finishing only two lengths off Order of Command and Prezado. The preparation before that he ran behind Milwaukee and Carlingford, who would both be favourites here. He should be about ready to peak on his preparation being third up, and from Barrier 5 he should sit off what’s going to be a frantic pace. Hopefully the pace sets it up for him to make a sweeping run and storm all over the top of them.
Condor Heroes is one of the main dangers. His racing has been sporadic after going really well as a two-year-old. He ran a length behind Sharpe Hussler when he looked the winner last preparation before running six lengths behind Le Romain and Siege of Quebec before being spelled. He’s in the David Hayes team now, and if he’s at his best first up, he will be very hard to beat.
Crown Mistress is next best. She’s another who was running really well as a two-year-old. She took basically a year off racing after finishing fourth in the Blue Sapphire Stakes – she had heat stress after that race. She came back and fought hard to run four lengths behind eventual winner Malibu Style, and the second horse in that race was Bons Away. She draws brilliantly from Barrier 1 and should give a sight.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.5 Sir Donald.
The highest-rated race of the day is upon us, a BM78 handicap for the fillies and mares over 1200 metres. Very, very keen on Dancing Tycoon here. The Mick Price-trained mare hasn’t raced for a while and has had big breaks between runs, but she looks to definitely be the class horse in the race. She beat Extreme Bliss and Dental in her first preparation before coming back and only running half a length off the talented duo In Iconoclasm and Groundbreak. She then finished a length and a half off free hearted before going out to the paddock again, and she resumes here in a very winnable race for her. From Barrier 4 Jake Noonan will either lead or sit very handy and if she comes back well, she’ll kick clear and be winning easily.
Twitchy Frank is the danger if there is one. She’s a very consistent mare out of the Darren Weir yard and she’s been going well this preparation. She only ran half a length off Smart Coupe three starts back before winning at Caulfield. So she steps down in grade here, and from Barrier 1 Brown will push her up and sit handy like normal and be running on down the straight.
Mountain Breath is the unknown. She was imported from England to the Waller yard and she is running without a trial, probably best to watch the market on her.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.8 Dancing Tycoon.
Heat 2 of the Schweppes stayer’s series takes place here, with a BM70 handicap over the Cox Plate distance of 2040 metres. Probably the most open race on the card this one, with basically every runner a chance. I’m going to go with Mosh Music in a very open race. The Archie Alexander trained mare is no doubt the Inform horse going into the race. She’s won two out of her last three, including a win over one more try, and her closing sectionals behind Pure Scot were some of the best of the day. There should be a fair bit of pace on with the likes of Ayers Rock and Kilmacurragh leading, which will hopefully set it up for the backmarkers like this mare to storm over the top of them.
Into Rio is one of the dangers. I’ve always had time for this horse, and it seems as though he’s never reached the heights I thought he would. He’s been running well, though, this preparation, with two thirds at Flemington and Sandown respectively in his last two runs. He probably steps down in class here and from Barrier 6 Lane should sit him midfield and with luck he should prove hard to beat.
Kilmacurragh is next-best. He’s another who has been racing well this preparation barring a disappointment at Flemington last start. Finishing third behind Lamborghini and Credence are brilliant form lines for this race. He will sit on the speed and give a sight.
Recommended bet: Win bet on #12 Mosh Music.
One of the better races on the car comes here in the last, with some very talented three-year-olds running in it. A BM64 over 1200 metres, most punters should be able to narrow this field down into basically a two-horse race, and I’m going with Age Of Chivalry as the best on the program. This horse has only had the three race starts but is very progressive. She was pipped on the line on debut at Pakenham and then struck interference at Geelong, where she raced against the likes of Dubai Tycoon, Savoie and Chapada. He finished only a length or so away that day. She was spelled after that and came back a couple of weeks ago at Sandown looking like she had improved again after winning by two lengths eased down. From Barrier 6 Damian Lane should sit midfield on the back of a hot tempo and be running all over them when it matters. It’s hard to see him not winning this.
Expansion is the only danger. He won very well on debut at Yarra Valley and then finished second behind the very talented Hawkshot last start. He also beat home the also very talented Halvorsen in that race. He’s versatile in terms of where he can position in the run, so Stephen Baster should be able to make a decision on where to go early and with luck will be running well.
Recommended bet: Large win bet on #9 Age of Chivalry.