The 2019 Moir Stakes headlines a big night of racing at The Valley and we are set for a truly fascinating Group 1 event.
A capacity field of 15 talented sprinters will contest the Moir Stakes and it is the speedy Nature Strip that has opened as a clear favourite in Moir Stakes betting.
Can Nature Strip claim a second Group 1 win or will there be a Moir Stakes upset?
We have analysed the entire field and our complete 2019 Moir Stakes tips can be found below.
Ball Of Muscle
Ball Of Muscle was not disgraced when he finished third first-up in The Heath at Caulfield and the drop back to 1000 metres is ideal. His record over this distance is strong, but the strong early speed might prove to be an issue for him. The Dubawi gelding has generally produced his best form in low-pressure races where he has been able to control the early tempo and he won’t get that opportunity in the Moir Stakes.
I have a big opinion of Trekking, but I do thing that he is well and truly unders at his Moir Stakes odds. He went to another level during his Winter campaign and his victory in the Stradbroke Handicap was very impressive. He was able to win the Hall Mark Stakes first-up, but he did improve as he got further into his preparation. 1000 metres is probably short of his best trip, especially in a high quality field like this one, and I have to take him on in this contest.
The Bostonian showed his quality when he won both the Doomben 10,000 and the Kingsford-Smith Cup before he failed to fire in the Stradbroke Handicap. 1000 metres does seem short of his best trip and the wide barrier draw means that he will get a long way back in the early stages of this contest. He is another that I am happy to oppose at the current price.
Faatinah returned to the races with a tough win in the McEwen Stakes and he has an excellent record over this track and distance. He is a horse that generally does take a step backwards second-up and the wide barrier draw isn’t ideal. Jamie Kah will likely be forced to go forward on the Nicconi gelding in the early stages of this race and that will leave him vulnerable late.
There are few horses in Australia that are more polarizing than Nature Strip. He started the Concorde Stakes as a clear favourite, but connections elected to try to have him settle in the early stages of that contest and he failed to fire. There is no doubt that 1000 metres is his pet trip and James McDonald should be given the freedom to ride him aggressively. Barrier one is not ideal and he will need to ping the leads to hold out the likes of Faatinah, Assertive Approach and Miss Leonidas in the early stages. There is no doubt that he has the quality to win this contest, but I don’t think that the likely high-pressure of this race will suit him and I am keen to oppose him at the current price.
Viridine is a better chance than his current Moir Stakes odds indicate. He is not the most consistent horse in the world, but he is capable of a high-rating performance on his day. First-up in the Autumn he was unlucky not to beat Ball Of Muscle and Redzel in the Challenge Stakes over 1000 metres and he does always run well fresh. He should get a lovely trail in behind the leading chances and should get the last shot at them.
Tactical Advantage is another horse that I expect will run better than his current odds suggest. He has recorded three wins from his six previous starts over 1000 metres and some of the best performances of his career have been over this trip. His first-up record is also strong and I have been taken by his two barrier trials ahead of his return to the races. He is another horse that should be able to settle just behind the strong speed and that will give him his chance. $31 is over the odds.
Bons Away looked the winner in the McEwen Stakes first-up and headed Faatinah at one point, but was unable to get the job done. That did look like the right race for him and this is much tougher. He rarely runs a bad race, but he has never really shown anything to suggest that he is capable of winning at Group 1 level.
Eduardo is another horse that comes out of the McEwen Stakes. He did look to have his chance in that contest and was unable to hold-off Faatinah and Bons Away in the concluding stages. He would need to go to another level to be a genuine winning chance in the Moir Stakes and he is another galloper that I am happy to oppose.
Assertive Approach gets his chance at Group 1 level after recorded four wins from his five race starts to date. He won the Carlyon Stakes over this track and distance last start, but there is no doubt that this is a much tougher assignment. Barrier 14 means that Dwayne Dunn will have no choice but to ride him aggressively in the early stages and he looks set to be involved in that early speed battle. There is no doubt that he has upside, but he would need to be a special horse to win this contest.
Sunlight is the horse to beat in the Moir Stakes. She had excuses when she was beaten in the Concorde Stakes and she never produces her best form fresh. The Zoustar mare has recorded three wins from as many starts second-up and that included her win in the Newmarket Handicap in the Autumn. The Valley is not a problem for her, she won the William Reid Stakes in the Autumn, and she does have tactical versatility. Luke Currie should be able to settle her behind the leading group and with even luck in running she will prove tough to hold out. The $5 currently available is over the odds.
Booker finished eighth in the McEwen Stakes last start, but that performance was better than it looks on paper. I’m still not sure if that is the right form line for this contest and it has been a while since Booker produced at her best.
Team Edmonds have set Winter Bride for a first-up tilt at the Moir Stakes and her first-up record is excellent. I do think that she is better suited over further and she has never quiet measured up in these open sprint races.
There is an argument to be made that Meryl was the run of the race in the McEwen Stakes. She won at this meeting 12 months ago in the Scarborough Stakes and she is a mare that is generally underrated by the market. The Epaulette mare doesn’t have the same quality as some of the other sprinters in this field, but I have seen worse $61 chances.
There has been an early move for Miss Leonidas in Moir Stakes betting. I can’t really see why. She ran well in the McEwen Stakes, but she has never produced anything to suggest that she is capable of winning at this level.