Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Moonee Valley on Friday, September 25th.
The Group 1 Moir Stakes headlines Friday night's meeting at Moonee Valley, and is the first of three Group 1s in Australia this weekend. It promises to be a cracking night of racing, despite some predicted rain, and Trent Crebbin has given his assessment of every race on the card below!
Best Bet: Race 3 - (4) Alfa Oro
Best Value: Race 6 - (1) Mirage Dancer
Not sure what to do with (1) Extra Time here. I made a case for him at 50-1 in the McNeil and he ran super, sitting 3 wide on speed and missing by 0.4L in a tight finish. He then went to the Danehill and was disappointing down the straight. He never really travelled there so back around a bend can only be a positive, and he maps beautifully from barrier 3. I’ve got a bit of a query on him on soft ground, with most of his wet form inconclusive. He has to carry top weight here as well but does look the horse to beat. Happy to take on (7) Endanger. He was tipped out after an easy debut win, but he beat absolutely nothing, and it wasn’t like he did it under hands and heels. The one that looks value to me is (2) Saltpeter who comes here 2nd up. He was given little chance first up sitting 3 wide on speed with 62kg but should strip much fitter here. He won his maiden comprehensively 2nd up last prep before winning a handy race at Caulfield on a soft 6. Olly chooses to ride him over (3) River Twain who started $1.35 and won his maiden easily, and I think Saltpeter should roll forward and sit outside the leader here. He drops 5kg from last start, has form on rain affected ground and should be on speed which ticks enough boxes for me. Backing Saltpeter and Extra Time at equal staking.
Looking at the acceptances for this race I was very keen to be with (5) Express Pass, and then he goes and draws barrier one which is the worst possible scenario. He’s clearly the best horse in this race- his win first up at Bendigo was outstanding when getting a long way back, and his win last start at Caulfield when given a peach by Rhys McLeod from midfield was very good, running a faster last 400m (3rd fastest of meting) than Windstorm. He will need another outstanding ride to win this, but he just looks so well placed here. Won’t be going crazy because he could be a moral beaten, but if he gets clear air, he’s close to an odds on chance so at $2.90, potentially $3+ with a few map related layers I have to be with him. (6) Simply Optimistic won nicely last start and beat a handy field, but probably gets a fair way back from the wide gate and does look well enough found now. The other one in the market that can win is (1) Chicago Cub who was only 2.4L off Showmanship last start. That was his best run at The Valley, but he does face a tricky map from barrier 8 because there’s plenty of speed drawn inside him. He could be cast wide on that speed and it’s a tricky ride for Lachie King. I’m hoping and expecting they’ll go quickly here which will break the field up and allow Express Pass to find a gap from the inside. If he was under $2.50, I’d probably let him go but at the price I think you can take the gamble that he’ll get some luck.
As I write this no concrete decision has been made where (4) Alfa Oro lines up as he is dual nominated at Caulfield, but I do think he’ll be lining up here from what I’ve read. I’m a huge fan of this horse- he puts himself on speed, he’s tough as nails, handles all ground and has plenty of talent. He’s clearly the best horse in this race made up mainly of pure 955m series horses, which will make things interesting. The shortest distance he’s seen is 1100m which have both been wins, the most recent at Caulfield and whilst he had the track pattern in favour he bolted in very impressively in a much harder race. He’s quick out of the gates and I think if he steps cleanly, he should be able to hold these out for the lead. If that happens, I think he’ll prove too strong, and if the rain has hit by now, he’s even better suited as he loves wet ground. (2) Mister Mogul narrowly got the better of (8) Lesage last start and whilst Lesage was only first up, she’s never won second up so looks short enough. (1) Epic Grey started $5 in the 955m final last season but did run 7th to Bella Vella. He’s never won fresh but has been close up numerous times. If Alfa Oro brings anything near his best class should be getting him home.
I’d be chips in (1) Glenfiddich is the track was still in the good range. His run first up in the Memsie was outstanding. He was exceptionally well backed there to start $6 equal 2nd favourite, sat close to a very strong tempo and finished 3rd, beaten 2.25L by Behemoth. There’s no better form in Melbourne at the moment. Yes, he had the 50.5kg there, but for a 3yo to do that first up in a proper acid test was very good. He’s suited stepping up to 1600m here, with his only run at the mile a very good 2nd to King’s Legacy in the Champagne Stakes. My only query is a wet deck, because his one failure last prep was in the Sires in Sydney on a heavy 8 where he was beaten nearly 7L. If we’re still on a relatively dry track (soft 5 or better) then I’m very happy to be with him, but if we’re on a genuine 7 then I’ll be wary. (2) Holyfield is the other that makes appeal coming down from Sydney. Whilst he brings the B grade Sydney form through the Ming Dynasty, he has handles wet ground effectively and should find the front fairly easily from barrier 4 here. He does have an $8 SP vs Glenfiddich’s $31 in that Champagne Stakes too and whilst beaten out of sight he did have excuses. The other form reference is the Exford Plate. (4) Cherry Tortoni ran a good 3rd there after getting a long way back. The 1600m on a soft track will suit. He started $2.35 and gave 4.5kg to (6) Alcyone at Flemington and still managed to get the job done. Also in that race was (7) Crown Mint who I thought ran quite well. He was back nearer the inside and raced in restricted room for large parts of the straight, but once he got clear inside the final 200m he really hit the line well and actually ran the same split as Cherry Tortoni who had momentum. 3rd up here at 1600m, drawn barrier 5 with Willo sticking I thought he could run a big race at double figures and going back through his SA form he did beat home Ranting (who had an easy lead) in the SA Breeders’ Stakes, with that horse in very consistent form at the top level in Melbourne this prep. I’d be surprised if Crown Mint didn’t drift off his SP last start too, so I’m happy to have something on him, and also backing or saving Glenfiddich if the track is holding up.
I think (2) September Run is a false favourite here. Her win down the straight was good, but I think the ride won her the race. She got cover along the inside and Willo got stuck into her early and slipped away. John Allen on (1) Swats That couldn’t even see that horse from out wide and was travelling very sweetly. He knew he had the horses around him covered and if he’d pressed the button earlier, I think she would’ve won. Her jumpouts leading into this prep were outstanding, and she did start half the price of September Run there, running nearly an identical last 200m. With the run under her belt I think Swats That can turn the tables. There’s plenty of speed engaged here so Allen should be able to get her to the outside and finish best. The one that scares me is (3) Dirty Thoughts. She’s simply underrated for a filly that keeps raising the bar. She lost her first race for the prep last start at this T/D and ironically, I think it was her best performance, sitting outside the leader and taking over in the straight, only to be run down late by two leading Guineas contenders in Night Raid and Aidensfield, with subsequent listed winner Odeum in 5th. She draws wide for the third time in a row at this T/D with plenty of speed inside which will be tough, but Kah replaces Daniel Moor which is worth a length at least. Soft ground will be in her favour too. (7) Raison D’etre certainly handles wet ground down from Sydney, but if September Run was bringing the B grade (outside Dame Giselle) then this filly is bringing the D grade. I’m keen Swats That turns the tables on September Run so at the $4 I’m happy to bet and save or make a small result out of Dirty Thoughts at $4.80 who just keeps improving and gets Kah back on board. If it’s very wet by now adjust your staking to include Dirty Thoughts a touch more.
(1) Mirage Dancer just looks a bet here at $8. He ran first up with 62kg in the Heatherlie, giving 6kg to most of the field, settled midfield and ran on nicely for 7th, beaten 2.3L. Second up last prep over just 1800m he ran a cracking race for 3rd in the Peter Young, finishing close up behind Kings Will Dream and ahead of Regal Power, running the fastest sectionals of the race including the 2nd fastest last 200m of the meeting. He then went up to Sydney and acquitted himself well, running 4th in a Tancred behind Verry Elleegant and 3rd in a Chairman’s with top weight. He’s clearly come back well off his first up run, and has run 3rd in a Caulfield Cup, yet here he is in a JRA Cup. Another that draws barrier 1 which isn’t ideal, but he does get an airborne Zahra on and drops to 60.5kg here. If the rain comes (2) Quick Thinker comes into it. He was outclassed in the Makybe Diva first up but will improve out to 2000m. (5) Al Galayel is a deserved favourite having knocked off subsequent Naturalism winner Orderofthegarter last start. His record at the T/D is excellent but his soft track form concerns me as anything on a soft 6 or worse has seen him fail. (11) Tavirun put in a bit of a flat one last start which was understandable coming off a huge run at this T/D the start before. He comes back to 2040m here and gets in with just 55kg. (3) Levendi wasn’t terrible in the Makybe Diva but you’d need to see him again before backing him. The best horse in this race is clearly Mirage Dancer so despite barrier 1 I simply have to be on at $8.
The feature race of the night over the 1000m is the Moir Stakes, and they have speed to burn here. Drawn barrier 5 I think Oakleigh Plate winner (7) Pippie uses her tremendous gate speed to find the rail and they’ll have a tough time crossing her. WA mare (9) Fabergino is also very quick and I think she gets across from barrier 8 to sit outside the lead, with (3) Jungle Edge trying to beat her there from barrier 10. Knuckey might have to be content to sit 1-1 if Jungle Edge presses on. Best case for (6) Bella Vella is that she lands on the back of Pippie from barrier 1 because I seriously doubt she can hold the lead. (2) Hey Doc might be cast wide or forced to settle a bit further back than usual. (8) Diamond Effort could land on the back of Fabergino with (4) Ashlor pocketing Bella Vella. (13) Bella Nipotina generally races on pace and might press on with the light weight with Hey Doc, whilst the other 4 bring up the rear. As you can tell, there are 8 genuine on pace types here so they should run some very fast sections and the map should look something like this:
I’m going to be against the McEwen lead up won by (6) Bella Vella. She’s a very good mare and I keep underrating her, but I hate her map here from barrier 1. She’s going to need Kah’s very best ride to find a gap from there and whilst she absolutely loves The Valley, she’s not even the best horse in the race in my opinion. The horse to beat has to be (9) Fabergino and I’m very glad she managed to get a flight over here. She’s unbeaten (5/5) when first up as she does most of her racing fresh, she’s 7/9 at the 1000m and can sustain a very high cruising speed. The only worry I have for her is wet ground. She’s never really seen a genuinely soft track and whilst her breeding suggests it should be okay, it’s hard to know. If she handles it fine and brings her best form, she’ll go very close though. The one that will love a soft track is (8) Diamond Effort. She’s another mare I’ve underrated but she just keeps on winning. I’ve also come around on another mare here in (7) Pippie. She’s one of the fastest horses in Australia and should be leading this field. She can run some exceptionally fast early sectionals and might be able to pinch a break on the turn. She had a savage track bias in her favour when winning the Oakleigh Plate, but she went out at breakneck speed and still held on. She’s 3/3 when first up and could just be too fast for them. The backmarkers might be completely out of this race, but if one were to threaten it could be (11) Hanseatic who was very good when coming from back and wide behind Bella Vella last start. I’m fairly confident the winner comes from the on speed mares: Fabergino, Pippie and Diamond Effort. Personally I’ve backed Fabergino and Diamond Effort all in at $10 and $14 respectively, so I’ll just be backing Pippie, but at the current prices I’d be looking to back Pippie and Diamond Effort and have a small result out of Fabergino.
The more I look at this race the more I think (3) Perfect Jewel will be winning. They threw her in the deep end after a big win first up and she started a very short $4.80 against Russian Camelot and Fierce Impact. Whilst that was unders in my pre-race opinion, she performed well, still managing to finish off in the equal fastest last 200m of the race. She’s much better suited back to mare’s grade and will take a stack of beating, with a soft track no issue. Happy to be against (1) Mystic Journey who surprisingly lines up here. She pulled up lame after the Memsie run but both runs this prep had me worried and she was going back to Tasmania. It’s just been an interrupted prep for her and whilst at her best she’d go very close here, she’s nowhere near her best and unbackable here. (5) Princess Jenni started $41 in the Makybe Diva but had no hope, affected by Gatting breaking down in the field. Her first up run was solid, and she loves the T/D with 2 wins from 3 starts, including a win in this race last year. She’s another that draws barrier 1 which is a very tricky ride for Ethan Brown. Off her SP against Perfect Jewel she’s hard to back but it wouldn’t surprise me to see her improve drastically. (4) Spanish Reef went back from a wide gate first up and actually ran the fastest last 200m of the race behind Pretty Brazen and Arcadia Queen. She should be much closer in run from barrier 3 here and can be somewhere in the finish. Look for (11) Realm Of Flowers to hit the line- she should find these a touch sharp but is a good mare who went well first up. (6) Greysful Glamour is the sole leader on paper which is scary because she’s a good horse when she gets things her own way. She’s never won at 1600m before but has won over 1400m at Caulfield. Her run first up in the Tramway was very good behind Dreamforce and Kolding and whilst I think she’s better on top of the ground she’s not hopeless on soft ground. She looks the quinella horse and one you could back 1x4 along with Perfect Jewel the win.
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