Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for racing at Moonee Valley on Saturday, September 8th, featuring the Group 2 McEwen Stakes and the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
We have nine races on a Good track with the rail in the True position. Last time we raced at the Valley it was incredibly leader-biased with the rail in the 6m position, but with it going back to the True position for today’s meeting, it should make it a touch easier to make ground from the back.
Best Bet: Race 2 #2 Snitzepeg EW
Best Value: Race 1 #5 Addison EW
Very keen to bet early here. There’s four main runners of interest and it will be important to stake correctly. (2) Naantali goes on top after another good effort last start when 2nd at Caulfield over 1700m. She carries 59kg today but draws very well in barrier 3, which should see her land a good position on the pace without having to do any work. If she keeps her form, she’ll be tough to hold out. (3) Lopartega bounced back to form last start in that same race, 1.25L behind Naantali. She’ll go forward and probably sit outside the leader from barrier 5 and I doubt she’ll have to spend many tickets in the run given the moderate tempo. She’s got a great record at this track and distance and looks a serious each way chance. The big value in the race could be (5) Addison at $16. She was out of sight first up but finished off relatively well, running the fastest 400m-200m split and the second fastest final 200m. Last prep she did a similar thing first up before stepping up to the mile second up and winning. Blinkers back on today – if she can be close enough on the turn she could get over the top of them. (1) Pleasuring returns for the first time since winning a Group 3 race over 2500m in Adelaide back in May. Will she be sharp enough first up over 1600m? It’s always a query but barrier 1 is a big help and Darren Weir trained five winners last weekend. I’m very keen to oppose (4) Sharing at $8 and (6) Moscow Red at $5.00. Main bet on Naantali with small bets on Lopartega and Addison.
Big field here with a number of horses you could make a case for but I just keep coming back to the two Weir horses at the top of the market. (2) Snitzepeg’s record may not suggest it but he’s flying and arguably should have won his past three starts, but in two of those he’s gone to the line under a stranglehold behind a wall of horses. Splitting those two luckess run was a dominant performance at Caulfield. He’s got 60kg to carry here but the weights are fairly compressed (lowest weight is 56kg) and that will suit him, as will barrier 10, which should allow him an uninterrupted crack at them in the straight. (11) Lucky For All is likely to be the best horse in the race. He last ran over 2200m in the Queensland Derby back in June and resumes today over 1600m. Barrier 4 is a lovely draw but there’s a small chance of him being strung up behind a number of slow horses up the front. If he gets all the breaks or is able to get to the outside, he could easily put these away, but if he’s strung up behind traffic, he may struggle to get a crack at them. (3) Strike Force led all the way over this track and dsitance last start but that was on the day when just about every leader won. (7) The Avenger isn’t far off a win and the good barrier draw gives him his chance today. (16) Angelucci is the massive blowout at around $67. Likely to just back Snitzepeg and Lucky For All with a dutch bet here.
Competitive race with a number of horses in form. Nine of the 11 runners placed at their last run and most of these horses will be being targeted at the VRC Derby. (4) Approach Discreet is the current VRC Derby favourite after an eight-length win in Adelaide last start. Back to Melbourne now and he’s drawn an ideal gate to land where he wants. The slight query with him is the form out of his win at Sandown two starts ago which has turned out to be pretty ordinary, and I’m not sure he beat a great deal over the border either. With that said, these DK Weir three-year-old’s often improve the further they go into their campaign and he certainly looks a major player. Interestingly, Mark Zahra chooses to ride (3) Visao for Ciaron Maher here, taking over from the suspended Damian Lane. Zahra rode two other horses in this race at their last start so it’s notable that he goes with Visao today. Visao comes off consecutive victories and races for the first time in seven weeks. He also drops back from 1800m to 1500m which is a slight query, as is the wide barrier. With that said, I think he might be a reasonably talented horse and is worth an each way ticket around $8.00. (5) Kinky Boom finished off really nicely behind two talented types in the form of Swet Rockette and Multaja last start. Third up today, drawn a touch awkwardly but looks ready to win.
This is such a deep race. With that said, the way (2) Trap For Fools won last start over this track and distance was super impressive, even if it was on the day when leaders were hugely advantaged. He won very easily and was five weeks between runs after having a slight setback with a foot abscess, so he should be in even better shape today. He’s drawn wide and goes up in weight, but he’s fit now, will roll forward and will be very hard to get past, just as he proved last campaign in WA. (1) Pacodali ran 4th behind Trap For Fools last start and it was a good effort considering the track pattern. The concern is he pulled up lame out of that race, but if he’s right, he’ll run a bold race with the good draw. (3) US Army Ranger is on debut in Australia. He was a pretty classyh animal in the UK but this stable’s first up runners haven’t been going very well at all and he’s probably looking for much further than this. (5) Yogi ran very well first up over the mile and steps up to 2000m second up today. He failed badly at his only start at this track and distance when he was favourite, but did pull up with a heart issue that day. Barrier 16 will see him get a long way back which is the concern. (7) Harrison was sound first up in the same race as Yogi. His form from last prep is very solid and down in weight today with a good draw, he should run well. (8) Etah James is another that comes out of that race first up. Second up and up in trip today will suit. Could possibly roll forward from the wide barrier to sit outside Trap For Fools. She’s won six from 11 starts so certainly has claims. (10) Sikandarabad ran 3rd behind Trap For Fools last start but was good given the track pattern of the day. Was flying before that run and if he can get a decent run from barrier 12 he’ll be hitting the line hard. (13) Mr Clarify started a $6.50 chance behind Trap For Fools last start. Was comprehensively beaten but his third up record is terrible. Went close fourth up last prep and draws better today. Was very good two starts ago and can bounce back at double figure odds.
(2) Nature Strip clearly the one they all have to beat here and a convincing victory here would surely wrap up his slot in The Everest. He’s won his three starts for Darren Weir by a combined 12L and from barrier 1 he can either lead or box seat. Just needs an ounce of luck and he should be winning this. (1) Viridine was placed in the Group 1 The Galaxy last prep and is a very good horse in his own right. He resumes today but has the synthetic hoof filler on which is some concern. (5) Shoals already has a slot in The Everest and she resumes today over 1000m, interestingly the first time she’s ever run over the distance. She’s actually got an identical race record to Nature Strip with seven wins and two 2nds from 11 starts, including three Group 1’s. With race fitness on his side and the proven ability over 1000m, Nature Strip goes ahead of her.
Open race for the three-year-old fillies here. (1) Thrillster appears a good each way chance at $7.50 here. She won two of her first three races in her debut campaign and resumed from a spell with a good run behind Sunlight, beaten 0.85L after starting from barrier 16. Much better drawn in barrier 3 today. (3) Krone resumes with Mark Zahra booked to ride for Darren Weir, which is a good lead. She actually beat (8) Humma Humma in Adelaide last preparation and that form can be tied in to the likes of Thrillster, who finished behind Humma Humma first up. No shock to see Krone go close. (4) Sanish Whisper is a Kiwi filly making her Australian debut for the Lindsay Park team. She was Group 1 placed and a Group 2 winner over this distance back in New Zealand. (6) Assertive Play resumes after winning her first two starts in Adelaide. The stable don’t have a good record at this track but Craig Williams is a strong booking. (7) Anjana is unbeaten in three career starts. Drawn wide here and she was being spruiked as a Thousand Guineas filly earlier this year. The booking of Harry Coffey is a little bit suspect to me. She is equal favourite for the race and I would have thought someone like Mark Zahra would be booked if she was the stable’s top elect. (15) Alexandra Dreaming and (16) Golden Halo not hopeless.
Good race. Think (1) Osbourne Bulls is probably the best horse in the race but barrier 1 at the Valley with Williams aboard is enough reason to be concerned. His win first up at Caulfield was terrific, especially given it was his first time going to Melbourne way. He’s never missed a place from 11 starts, eight of which have been wins. Whichever way you look at it, he’s going to be hard to beat if the breaks come and is definitely worth having at least a saver on at $4.20. (4) Mr Sneaky will be my main bet in the race at $6.00. His run first up behind Faatinah over 1000m here was huge. He will relish the step up to 1200m and he’s placed in both runs at this track and distance. His second up record is the obvious cause for concern but if you actually look closely at his second up runs, they aren’t bad at all. For example, last prep he was 1.2L off Hartnell in Group 1 company when he was second up. If he can be close enough from barrier 2, he can charge at them late. (5) Land Of Plenty, on the other hand, has a terrific second up record, with two wins and two placings from four starts. He flew home after a chequered path to be beaten a nose by Osbourne Bulls first up. Big jockey change today with Zahra taking over from Ben Allen and although he’s drawn awkwardly in barrier 14, there looks to be plenty of pace on up front which will suit. Good price at $5.50. (8) Bella Martini was well-backed in that race won by Osbourne Bulls. She’s undefeted second up and will go forward. (11) Tulip has never finished outside the top two from three starts at the track and distance, (12) Iconoclasm better suited here after a good run first up.
(7) Night’s Watch was very impressive winning at Caulfield last weekend over 1400m. He comes here on the one-week back-up and gets his chance from barrier 5. Even though he was dominant last week, I think he’s short enough at $3.90 here. He takes on some genuine Group 1 horses who are in a whole different league to the horses he beat last weekend. He’s also never won from four starts over 1600m and hasn’t placed in either third up run to date. Very interested in backing (9) Bonneval each way at $7.00. She won this race first up last year before defeating (1) Hartnell in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes three weeks later. She then had foot problems for her final two starts and she’s now been off the track for 46 weeks. That’s a query – whether she will be sharp enough to win this after close to 11 months off – but if she’s at her best she’ll win this. Needs a good tempo on up front but there are a few horses that can go forward here. (1) Hartnell was good first up without winning when 2nd to Showtime in the PB Lawrence Stakes. Big query over that form after Showtime failed horribly in the Memsie Stakes last weekend. (10) Spanish Reef might be the surprise packet and can run a big race at good odds.
Wide open final leg of the quaddie. (3) Moss ‘N’ Dale was only 0.6L off Theanswermyfriend last start and that horse has since won again. Should enjoy a good run from barrier 3 and should be right in the finish. (5) Divine Unicorn is an interesting runner, sent to Melbourne by Matthew Dunn after a win on the Sunshine Coast first up. Every run of his has been in Queensland, but for a 4th placing in a Highway Handicap in Sydney. On face value, I’d think he would need to go to a new level to win here but he finds a suitable race and is open to improvement given he’s only had nine starts. (7) Northwest Passage ran 4th in the Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury first up. Will go forward from the wide gate and gets the blinkers back on today which is a positive sign. (8) Orderofthegarter is the most interesting runner in the race. He’s on debut in Australia for Team Williams, first up from a 14-month spell. First up last campaign he broke his maiden by 11 lengths and backed that up with a 3L win in Listed grade over this distance. If he brought that form here he’d win, but how forward is he for this? Given he holds a Melbourne Cup entry, I’d suggest he’s got plenty of improvement to come. (18) Our Peaky Blinders can show sharp improvement if he gains a run. Dartboard job and unlikely to be a betting race for me.
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