Race 1 - 6:30pm
Han Xin chased home Royal Randwick Guineas favourite D’argento when he made his racing debut at Newcastle and he has trialed in impressive fashion at Royal Randwick on two occasions in the lead-up to his racing return. Beau Mertens will take him straight to the front in the early stages of this contest and that is where you are going to want to be at The Valley with the rail out five metres. He is a horse with promise and he can claim a maiden race win tonight.
2.5 Units Han Xin
Race 2 - 7:00pm
Barbeque has raced in stronger company than this during his Summer campaign to date and this does look like a nice race for him. He made up ground late in what was a slow-run race at Caulfield last start and he doesn’t need to get anywhere near that far back in this contest. On exposed form he does have an edge over the rest of this field and this is his chance to return to winning form.
Update: Barbeque has been scratched from the Quest Moonee Valley Handicap. Shalwa is now clearly the horse to beat, but there is no value at her current price.
Race 3 - 7:30pm
Freeze Over has joined the stable of Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra ahead of her return to racing. The Exceed And Excel filly showed plenty of talent in the first three race starts of her career and at her most recent start finished second behind Booker – a horse that went on to win the Thousand Guineas Prelude. If she is able to bring that sort of form to The Valley on Friday night, she does look to have a clear edge over the rest of this field and she does make her own luck right on the speed.
3.5 Units Freeze Over
Race 4 - 8:00pm
This is one of the most open races of the evening. This is not a race that I am overly keen to get too heavily involved in, but Sound The Trumpet is a horse that does appeal at his current price. He doesn’t win out of turn, but he is generally not far away and he looks set to take up the running in a race that doesn’t have a great deal of speed. He is worth a gamble at the $21 mark.
1/2 Unit Sound The Trumpet
Race 5 - 8:30pm
Straviera has recorded two wins on the trot and she does look like an ideal filly for the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge filly. She will likely sit just off Oscietra in the early stages of the race and I would expect her to be stronger to the finish than her rival. They should run fairly fast time and it would not surprise to see her become a regular runner in these Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge races.
2.5 Units Straviera
Race 6 - 9:00pm
Seannie is a former Perth-trained galloper that is clearly the class galloper in this field. She was placed at Group level in Perth as a two-year-old and she was not disgraced in the Quezette Stakes, Furious Stakes and Thousand Guineas. This is easily the weakest race that she has contested during her racing career to date and class will take her a long way. She does map to get a long way back, but Regan Bayliss is an astute hoop that should ensure that she has every possible chance to return to winning form.
2 Units Seannie
Race 7 - 9:30pm
Aurora Rose has not produced a poor performance this preparation and there is no fitter horse in this race. She returned to winning form with a very tough performance at Pakenham and The Valley does look like the ideal track for her. Stephen Baster will take her straight to the front in the early stages of this race from the wide barrier draw and she will turn this into a genuine staying test. She will prove very tough to run past late.
1 Unit Aurora Rose
Race 8 - 10:00pm
Avanti Rose heads into this race on the back of two quality wins over 1000 metres and she is massively over the odds at her current price of $8.50. She now has three wins and three placings from her six starts over 1000 metres and she maps to get a lovely trail into this race just behind the leader. Avanti Rose is a filly with plenty of upside and if the money comes for her she will be extremely tough to beat.
1.5 Units Avanti Rose