An enormous weekend of racing gets underway at The Valley on Friday night and the feature event is the 2018 Moir Stakes.
The Moir Stakes is always a fascinating race and that is set to be the case again in 2018, as a host of speedy sprinters do battle over 1000 metres.
Can Nature Strip live up to his reputation and claim a maiden Group 1 win or will there be a Moir Stakes upset?
We have analysed every horse in the field and our 2018 Moir Stakes tips can be found below.
Brave Smash hasn’t been beaten far in either The Heath or The Shorts and it would not surprise if trainer Darren Weir has him ready to fire third-up. I’m not sure that 1000 metres is ideal for him and he will get a way back, but you can expect to see him hitting the line strongly.
Voodoo Lad has been ultra-consistent this preparation and he was unlucky to beat beaten when he finished second behind Ball Of Muscle in The Heath. I like the fact that Weir has freshened him up for this contest, his first-up form is excellent, and the only real concern is where he gets from the wide barrier draw.
Ball Of Muscle
He is going very well this preparation, but I think that this edition of the Moir Stakes will prove beyond Ball Of Muscle. The majority of his best form has come when he has been able to take up the running with a soft lead and there is no chance that he gets that in this race.
Jungle Edge would need there to be an absolute deluge of rain in Melbourne over the next 24 hours to be any chance in the Moir Stakes. He wasn’t disgraced in either the P.B. Lawrence Stakes or the Memsie Stakes, but the drop back to 1000 metres is far from ideal at this stage of his campaign.
Faatinah returned to the races with a nice win in the Carlyon Stakes, but the form coming out of that race has proven to be very poor. He would need to improve on that effort to win the Moir Stakes and I’m not sure if he has that upside at this stage of his career.
This is Nature Strip’s chance to record a Group 1 victory. There is no doubt that the pace will be on early, but this is a horse with serious speed and I don’t think that there is a horse in the country that can match his early toe. 1000 metres is ideal for him and his record at The Valley is excellent. He obviously tired late when he won the McEwen Stakes last start, but he absolutely smashed the clock and I believe that a repeat of that performance would make him very tough to beat. This is d-day for Nature Strip and I am confident that he will prove up to the challenge.
Viddora is definitely the value in the Moir Stakes. She should have won this race 12 months ago when she finished an unlucky second behind She Will Reign, she was held-up for a run at the worst possible time, and she has only improved since then. Her record over 1000 metres is excellent and, if she brings her best form, she will be in the finish.
Houtzen returned to the races with an excellent performance in the McEwen Stakes. She gave Nature Strip a serious scare in the concluding stages and they ran really good time in doing so. Whether she is able to repeat that sort of performance is a genuine query, but she has to be respected.
Missrock does have an excellent first-up record and she does like The Valley, but I’m not sure that she is up to this level. She will go back from the wide barrier draw and she will get the last crack at them, but has probably found her right price.
Spright is in a similar position to Missrock. She is a nice horse and has raced well at black-type level in the past, but she has never shown anything to suggest that she is capable of winning a Group 1 of this quality.
Savanna Amour has a habit of popping up in good races at juicy odds. She would need to hit a new career peak to win this race, but she does map to get a lovely trail into this contest and she can run better than her current odds suggest.
There was plenty of hype surrounding Snitty Kitty ahead of her Autumn campaign and she wasn’t disgraced, particularly when she finished second behind Russian Revolution in the Oakleigh Plate. She did train off at the end of that campaign and her trial ahead of her return to the races was only fair.
Nieta looked like a Group 1 horse in the making at one stage, but she has failed to take the next leap. She wan handily beaten in the Lightning at the Sunshine Coast over this trip and she is the extreme outsider in this field for a reason.