Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Moonee Valley on Friday, February 14th.
The Valley hosts its weekly meeting with an eight-race card under lights. The rail is out 3m and the track is rated a Good 4.
Check out our race-by-race preview, tips and best bets for the meeting here!
Best Bet: Race 7 - (8) Hidden Legend
Best Value: Race 5 - (5) Miss Norway / (3) Makahu Boy
A field of nine two-year-olds in the opener here, rarely races to get too heavily involved in when five of them are unraced. The form stable in the state in terms of two-year-olds is Lindsay Park and their representative here is (9) Tateyama with Craig Williams aboard. She's had two jumpouts at Flemington leading into this and I thought the improvement from her first jumpout to her second jumpout was good. Williams rode her in that second jumpout and sticks with her for raceday. Drawn well in 4, we should see her settle off the leaders and I think she's a decent each way bet at $7.50. The favourite is (3) Masseuse who had the one public jumpout, where it led all the way and looked good in doing so. Linda Meech on, will jump straight to the front which is always a positive at The Valley.
The favourite is the one to beat here, (7) Category Five, but he's drawn barrier 12 which could prove a bit tricky. He was run down very late by Kanaloche last start, and Kanaloche then came out and was beaten a nose at Sandown in a harder race than this on Wednesday. That's a positive sign for the form, and third up at the mile he's ready to peak, but he'll need a good ride from the wide gate. Two at good odds to have something on are (6) Alcides and (4) Stannary. Alcides was beaten first up but he recorded the best final 200m, 400, and 600m of the race. Second up at the mile we should see him go very close, though Danny O'Brien's record at Moonee Valley this season isn't great. Stannary represents another stable that go poorly here, but I still think he's the value at $10. He was backed into $5 on debut at Pakenham on a heavy deck, but failed to make much of an impression. He's since had a trial at Cranbourne and I thought he actually went really well. It was only a very quiet trial he was given but he went to the line under a hold and was moving smoothly down the outside while others were under pressure. The step up to the mile should help, I just hope he's not a mile back which can often happen with horses from this stable.
Tricky race. (1) Cassius on here two starts back and then ran 4th to the progressive Nonconformist last time out. He gets a big drop in grade back to BM64 company here; his win two starts back was a BM78. He does have to carry top weight here but he should be right in the finish on current form. (7) Leale has out together back-to-back wins in dominant fashion. You'd think with the inside gate and a 3kg apprentice, they'll take her straight to the front once again and be hard to run down. (6) Seafield Road broke the maiden at Sandown Lakeside two starts ago and the form out of his past two starts has been strong. Looks the value at double figure odds.
(1) Just A Joke is a different horse this campaign. Leading into this preparation, the horse had never placed from nine starts when first or second up, let alone win, but it's opened the prep with back-to-back wins. Steps up in grade again tonight but there's no reason he can't find the front and run them off their legs again. (3) El Vincitore gets the blinkers applied for the first time third up tonight. His only career win came third up so expect improvement tonight.
The 955m dashes are always tough, but I reckon there's a bit of value here. (3) Makahu Boy goes very well fresh, with four top-two finishes from as many starts when first up. He's got a good record at this track and distance, his main concern is the sticky draw in a race with good speed. $26 is over the odds. (5) Miss Norway is another horse that goes particularly well fresh. She has three wins and a 2nd from five starts when first up. The one time she didn't place was when she was well-beaten on debut, and the one time she finished second was last prep when beaten a nose at Flemington. She's had two starts at the track and distance for a win and a 3rd, her overall record at the distance is outstanding and she can lead or take a sit. Think she's a terrific chance at $10.
This is a shocker of a race to try and bet into. I've got the favourite (6) Dabiyr on top but not with any confidence. Like many Waller stayers, their form can fluctuate and we saw that last start when he failed badly as favourite in Sydney. He draws well here and his best form would see him bounce back, but we're getting asked to take $2.30. (4) Chouxting The Mob is a blowout chance at huge odds. Hasn't shown much so far in his first two runs back but he's undefeated from three starts at this distance.
Pretty keen on (8) Hidden Legend first up here. This horse has had two career starts and can probably consider himself a touch unlucky not to be undefeated. His debut win at Mornington was enormous, and he followed that with a luckless effort at Cranbourne when held up at crucial stages of the straight. Barrier 2 might cause him some problems given he tends to settle back in the field but he's the horse with the most upside in the race and there's a fair chance he's the best horse in the race, so I'll take the gamble with the $4.80 quote we've been given.
The final race has been marred by scratchings but it looks a good race for (11) Polanco, who has been running well without winning. His last four runs have all been good, the only issue will be whether he's close enough to run them down as he tends to get back. Big watch on the market with (6) Egyptian Gold first up. Tends to need a couple of runs when returning from a spell but did have excuses first up last prep and then went on to win three races in the prep. The distance is no issue for her so if she is firm in the market then she should be a serious player. Something on her at $6.50.
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