Race 1 - 6:30pm
No trainer has a better record with early two-year-olds than Tony McEvoy and he really does look to have a strong hand. Al Naifa has trialed in very impressive fashion ahead of her racing debut and she showed a fair amount of early speed.
Her stablemate Despacito has had three barrier trials in Adelaide ahead of her debut and has done enough to convince McEvoy that she is deserving of a debut opportunity in Melbourne. That extra barrier trial experience could prove vital and she appeals at the current price of $9.50.
3 Units Al Naifa
1 Unit Despacito
Race 2 - 7:00pm
Champagne In Paris showed a fair bit of ability when second behind Emaan on debut and she had genuine excuses when she was beaten at Ballarat last start. She has the early speed to press forward from the wide barrier and take up a forward position in a race that does not look to have a great deal of pace. This is one of the most open races of the evening and she is over the odds at her current quote of $11.
1 Unit Champagne In Paris
Race 3 - 7:30pm
There is plenty of speed engaged in this race and they look set to go very quickly early. Bella Martini had excuses when she was beaten as favourite last start at Ladbrokes Park and there was a fair bit of merit in that performance. She is yet to produce a poor performance during her racing career to date and Luke Currie will have plenty of options in the early stages of the race.
1.5 Units Bella Martini
Race 4 - 8:00pm
They tried Our Luca over the unsuitable 1300 metres at Ladbrokes Park last start and this is a far better race for him. Before that over 1000 metres at Mornington he led from start to finish to claim a very impressive win and he has run well at The Valley in the past. Stephanie Thornton will take him straight to the front in the early stages of the race and she has been riding very impressively over the past month.
1.5 Units Our Luca
Race 5 - 8:30pm
This is a very open edition of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge. Camila Lucinda is on the quick back-up after winning at The Valley last Friday night and there is no reason she can’t make it two wins on the trot. She went straight to the front over 1000 metres last weekend and there is no reason that Stephanie Thornton will not employ similar tactics in this race. This is not the strongest edition of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge and she will give her rivals plenty of catching.
1.5 Units Camila Lucinda
Race 6 - 9:00pm
Sallybrook was gassed by the promising Sprightly Lass at The Valley last start and there is no horse with that quality in this field. Before that she bolted in to win at Echuca and she has shown plenty of ability during her racing career to date. The wide barrier draw is not ideal and she will likely have to go forward, but there is still no reason that she should be available at such juicy odds in what is far from the strongest race.
1 Unit Sallybrook
Race 7 - 9:30pm
The scratchings have taken a fair bit of quality out of this race and that makes He’s A Moral even better placed in this contest. Dean Yendall got too far back on him last start at The Valley, but he was still able to savage the line and the form coming out of that race has been strong. He doesn’t have to get anywhere near as far back in this race and if he can stay in touch he has the turn-of-foot to finish over the top of him late.
1 Unit He’s A Moral
Race 8 - 10:00pm
This is a huge drop in class for So Far Sokool. He was narrowly denied in the Twilight Glow Stakes by Yulong Xingsheng on Zipping Classic Day and a repeat of that effort would make her very tough to beat. I’m not keen to dive in at the short odds that are currently available, but I’m not willing to tip against her either.