Race 1 - 6:30pm
LUCRF Super Handicap (1000m)
Final Choice has recorded two wins from as many starts this campaign and she is a filly with plenty of ability. The form coming out of her last start win at Flemington has been strong and she clearly enjoys these 1000 metres sprint. She has the early speed required to press forward and take up a forward position. The $7.50 currently available is well and truly over the odds.
1.5 Units Final Choice
Race 2 - 7:00pm
The Westin Melbourne Handicap (2040m)
Pleasuring has been racing well without winning this campaign and she has improved each time that she has been seen at the races. She was only narrowly denied in the Pinker Pinker Plate at Cranbourne and she maps to get a dream run in transit with Damian Lane in the saddle. This is her chance to return to winning form.
2 Units Pleasuring
Race 3 - 7:30pm
Chandler Macleod VOBIS Gold Star (1500m)
This does look like a race in two between Iconoclasm and Widgee Turf. There isn’t much between them, but at the price I have to side with Widgee Turf. He was not beaten far in the Penny Edition Stakes in Adelaide and the fact that Patrick Payne has freshened him up for this race is a positive. Widgee Turf has recorded three wins from five previous starts at The Valley and he is a horse that does have some tactical versatility.
3 Units Widgee Turf
Race 4 - 8:00pm
MSC Signs Handicap (2040m)
This is another race with two leading chances and there isn’t a great deal between Odeon and Waging War. Odeon has been excellent without winning this campaign and he hasn’t been beaten far in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, Naturalism Stakes and Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes. The drop back in distance suits and this is the weakest race that he has contested in some time.
3 Units Odeon
Race 5 - 8:30pm
Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge Heat 3 (955mm)
The two leading chances have both drawn poorly and luck in running will be key. Written Choice will go forward from the wide barrier draw and he is a horse that has won well in the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge in the past. He will have a big head start over Esperance in the run and that could prove to be the difference between the two horses.
1.5 Units Written Choice
Race 6 - 9:00pm
Sweeney Estate Agents Handicap (1200m)
Isaurian and Runson have opened as clear favourites, but I am happy to take them both on. Stellar Collision was nothing short of outstanding during his Winter campaign and he is a horse that simply doesn’t run a bad race. The $12 that is currently on offer is well and truly over the odds.
Savapinski ran in stronger company than this during the Autumn and she is a mare that is capable of a high-rating performance on her day. There is no doubt that she will be better over further, but she is capable of sprinting well fresh and The Valley will suit.
1 Unit Stellar Collison
1 Unit Savapinski
Race 7 - 9:30pm
Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m)
The Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes is a fascinating betting race and there is plenty of depth in the Group 1 event. It has been an interesting Spring Racing Carnival preparation for Kementari and the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes might be the right race for him. He has a very similar profile to Hey Doc, who won this race 12 months ago, and he hasn’t produced a bad effort this preparation. His barrier trial since his solid run in the Makybe Diva Stakes was promising and I think that he is the best horse in this field.
It is no surprise that there has been an early move for U S Navy Flag. His race was over when he missed the kick in The Everest and the wet track didn’t suit. If he is able to jump with this field, he will take up the running from barrier two and that will make him very tough to beat. His win in the July Cup showed that he is a serious talent.
2 Units Kementari
1.5 U S Navy Flag
Race 8 - 10:00pm
Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1500m)
Tamasa has not produced a bad performance during her racing career to date and she heads into this race on the back of two wins. She hasn’t been dominant in her past two wins, but I think that she still has improvement left in her and the step-up in trip will suit. John Allen will be able to take up a forward position in the early stages of the race and she will be tough to run down.
3 Unit Tamasa