It is a fantastic day of racing across the metro tracks – but before we head to Moonee Valley & Canterbury, we look to Mornington. ‘The Horse’ has taken a look at the card to find something to get us started.
Remember if you'd like a race-by-race preview of both meetings, head to our dedicated horse racing website at www.racingbet.com.au.
Another shortie takes my interest here in (2) Black Opal. He has been racing in bm64 grade with mixed results, placing a couple of times. The last time he competed at this grade he won. He gets the inside draw and should get an easy lead. He might be able to get away with a couple of easy sectionals and get the prize. The claim of apprentice Celine Gaudrey is a nice bonus (but like always, I am uncertain the claim offsets the option of a senior jockey).
The veteran (6) Waterford Sound could turn up today, who goes well at this track and distance.
The final race on the card and we are taking on the favourite. The Tony Noonan runner (6) Our Free Spirit broke maiden grade a number of races ago, and he really has struggled to get that second victory. He has gone close a number of times now, and today he meets a pretty ordinary bunch. The price is pretty thin for a runner with limited credentials, so he positions nicely as a ‘saver bet’.
(2) Star Selection has the been the one racing consistently in this grade, already winning two starts back at this track over 1000 metres. Laura Lafferty gets a claim and is racing in fine form. The wide gate is the query, and he may get stuck too far back when the pressure is on. For me, he looks the best runner in the race, and should probably be favourite – so happy to take the overs.
Last start, Campbell Rawiller rode a gem on (1) Elderflower to make every post a winner last start. Which looks to be the key on the mare. Her last three starts have all been in a leading role, and today she finds herself jumping from an outside gate (and outside other runners who look to have greater early speed). While she has a resume for 10 starts for 4 wins, she doesn’t look like a $1.65 chance that the market is suggesting. Admittedly, she is going great – but its poison odds over 955 metres.
The one who may get a nice lead is (2) Sasayuri who has been running in consistent form. She was winning in BM58 grade before taking on the BM64 – placing 3rd – and now jumps up to BM70. I think it’s a bridge too far on equal terms, but she gets the perfect draw and has the main threats to her outside and behind her in running. It takes a quality MV run to overcome a speed runner along the inside over 955. At $10 she looks a sneaky chance to steal it.
One that is proven over the 955 metres in an off-pace role is (3) Almadrava - and that is not easy to do. She gets another golden opportunity with Elderflower drawn out, to pounce earlier in the run, essentially beating her to the punch. Damian Lane is a huge factor, and at the price, has every chance to serve up the same treatment today (albeit in a higher grade).
The Australia Stakes! A fantastic little race over 1200 metres with only 6 runners. (2) Widgee Turf is a Group 1 horse and has been at much tougher affairs than this. He fires first-up, enjoys room on the track, and has an enviable record at the Valley (9 starts 3 wins and 3 places). The unfortunate thing for Widgee backers, is that he has not shown that form for some time now. Happy to watch him go around again before jumping in. I am also a huge fan of (5) Tavisan who has had a little freshen up. He goes well fresh and loves the track. Similarly, to Widgee Turf, it has been a little while since the last win. Happy to risk.
Damian Oliver is on (3) Viridine for the Cummings stable, and he is the runner who has been putting the runs on the board. He finished last prep with two quality wins, and he finds another very winnable race today. The query is his off-pace style, and the zero-win record at the track. But the Valley and Caulfield can play similarly at times, and that’s where Viridine has had plenty of success. He goes on top today.
This looks like a pretty simple task for (3) April Rain. James McDonald takes on a small field after a quality maiden win first-up. She donkey-licked them and should be making it two in a row. Waller will be expecting her to knock this over and go onto better/bigger things.
The field is pretty thin with the only threat (5) Virgo for the Cummings Godolphin stable. Not going to overcomplicate this one, and happy to take the short odds.
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