Race 1 - 12:25pm
Hill Handicap (1600m)
This is the weakest race of the day and not one that I am particularly keen to bet into. Kaniana brings the best form into the race, but she normally settles off the speed and with the rail out three metres at Moonee Valley you want to be leading. The only horse that stands out from a value proposition in this race is Takeover, but I can’t bring myself to back a mare that has just five race wins from 57 race starts.
Race 2 - 1:00pm
Craig Opie Cup (1600m)
The return of a number of imported stayers makes this an interesting race. Raw Impulse has opened as a clear favourite and I have to take him on at that price. This is a tougher field than those he beat up on in the winter and barrier one is far from ideal. Mihany is a horse I am interested in at $6. He does not win out of turn, but he was good last start when ridden aggressively and I expect Regan Bayliss will give him every possible chance. I would make rather be on him at $6 than Raw Impulse at $2.
1.5 Units Mihany
Race 3 - 1:35pm
Quest Moonee Valley Handicap (1514m)
Gai Waterhouse has big plans for Lord Macau – he has been set for the Victoria Derby and the Melbourne Cup – and if he is half as good as she thinks he is then he should be winning this race. He should still have plenty of residual fitness following his two-year-old campaign that only finished in July, while he will make his own luck right on the speed. He might have the edge on this field at this trip so early in the preparation and I am happy to take the gamble at the current price.
1 Unit Lord Macau
Race 4 - 2:15pm
United Refrigeration Handicap (1514m)
Mr Individual took up the running at Caulfield last start and he was only run down by the talented Prince Of Brooklyn in the final stages of the race. I expect Ben Thompson will cross the field from the wide gate and he will prove tough to run down. The Starspangledbanner entire has a class edge on his best form. The main danger is Moss ‘N’ Dale. There was plenty of merit in his last start win at Sandown and the form coming out of that race has been strong. He will settle just behind the speed and the Gelagotis stable has been firing. I am happy to back them both at their current prices.
2 Units Mr Individual
2 Units Moss ‘N’ Dale
Race 5 - 2:50pm
Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m)
Heatherly is one of the fastest horses in the country and this looks like an ideal race for her. She found the front and they couldn’t get past her in the Carlyon and I don’t see why this race will be any different. The wide barrier draw is actually a positive and she should be able to cross this field without many issues. Furnaces and Wild Rain are the main dangers, but I think that Heatherly is a faster horse.
3 Units Heatherly
Race 6 - 3:30pm
Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m)
The Atlantic Jewel Stakes is one of the most open betting races of the afternoon. Piccadillies, Athena Lass and I Am A Star have all opened as favourites, but I can’t get any of them as short as their current price. That means there is plenty of value for a number of other horses. Sweet Sherry won in impressive fashion last start. She has a great deal of speed – she led the Golden Slipper – and if they use similar tactics she is right in this race. Whispering Brook is one of the best fillies in Western Australia and she has recorded five wins from as many starts. We don’t know how good she is and I am willing to gamble at this point. Zamzam knocked up late when fourth behind Sweet Sherry and I am happy to give her another chance at her current quote.
1 Unit Sweet Sherry
1 Unit Whispering Brook
1 Unit Zamzam
Race 7 - 4:10pm
Listed SAJ Fruit Supply Stakes (1200m)
Voodoo Lad was super impressive in the Regal Roller Stakes, but I am happy to take him on at his current quote. Keen Array is a horse that is interesting first-up as a gelding, but once again there isn’t a great deal of value at her current quote. Handsome Tycoon is another horse that we don’t know how good he is. He has recorded six wins on the trot in Darwin and this may be a big step-up in class, but he has the speed to put himself right in the race on the speed.
1 Unit Handsome Tycoon
Race 8 - 4:50pm
Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m)
This is one of the strongest edition of the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes in recent memory and there are plenty of winning chances. I don’t think this is the right race for the resuming stayers and I am happy to put the pen through Tosen Stardom and The United States. Miss Rose De Lago was excellent in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and this looks like another very nice race for her. She has an outstanding record at Moonee Valley and she should be able to sit just outside the lead. I expect her to be too strong for The Cleaner late. The main danger is Mahuta. He is another that will be able to settle right on the speed and he is on the quick back-up following his gallant performance in the Memsie Stakes last weekend.
1.5 Units Mahuta
1.5 Units Miss Rose De Lago
Race 9 - 5:25pm
MSC Signs Handicap (2040m)
O’Lonera is a horse that I have a big opinion of and he has strung together three wins on the trot. Nick Hall has ridden him perfectly in his past two starts, but he has been replaced by Dwayne Dunn and I’m not sure he will do the same. Killarney Kid is the other major chance. His problem is that is unlikely to settle in the first half of the field. It is tough to find other horses to beat those two, but both look to have found their right prices.