Welcome to our preview and horse racing betting tips for night racing at Moonee Valley on Friday, February 9th.
We have an eight-race card on a Good 4 track with the rail in the 5m position. As has been the case in recent months, it’s going to be advantageous to be on pace, especially with the rail out. With that said, the track has played relatively fairly the past two weeks.
Best Bet: Race 4 Greviste
Best Value: Race 6 Bee Jay Zed EW
Tricky race to kick off with. (7) Judicious is who I’ve got on top. He’s a horse on debut from the Mick Kent stable, and he’s sure to have had some private jumpouts at Cranbourne, and although I could find a couple in recent weeks carrying the same colours, I can’t be absolutely certain that the horse in those jumpouts is actually him, because Cranbourne hide the names and colours of horses. But he’s been $9 into $4.60, and we saw a similar thing only 9 days ago at Sandown with one of Mick Kent’s horses, who was about $9 into $2.20. Always respect money for horses from this stable, especially when they’re on debut and haven’t publicly trialled! (3) Belichick looks some value at the $6.50. I thought he’d run a good race on debut at Ballarat, but he was caught three-wide the trip and was eventually beaten 3L into 5th. Much better drawn here in barrier 4 and Damian Lane takes the ride as Damien Oliver isn’t riding at the meeting. (6) Han Xin will jump straight to the front from barrier 1 for Mertens/Waterhouse & Bott. He’s obviously a horse that’s had problems as he’s just had two career starts, both separated by lengthy spells. The form out of his most recent start has turned out particularly strong, with the likes of D’Argento, Smartedge and Super Ex some of the names to beat him. Resumes again here, this time as a gelding, and he’s had two trials in Sydney in preparation. Even though he finished 1st and 2nd in his trials, I thought they were just OK. His racing pattern will get him a long way at the Valley. (4) Circomo and (10) Tuskar Brook are others to consider.
TIP: (7) Judicious / (3) Belichick EW
Another tricky one. (8) Shalwa comes out of what I thought was a good race behind Twitchy Frank over 1400m at Flemington last month, but the form out of that race has since been questionable, with both Twitchy Frank and Tagreeda performing below-par since. Still, I think it’s the right sort of form line for a race like this, and she ran home eye-catchingly to finish 3rd, suggesting the step up to 1600m will be ideal here. With just the three starts under her belt, she’s still open to plenty of improvement, so provided she can get a good run from the awkward barrier, she should give this a good shake. Mick Price’s other runner in the race, (5) Armed And Ready, looks progressive too. He’s had just the two career starts – a 3rd on debut at Cranbourne followed by a nice win at Moe last time out. He would have won by further had he not hung in in the straight, so with that experience he may be able to go well again at $7.50. (3) Barbeque drops back in grade after running 3rd behind Cao Cao at Caulfield last start, and he gets the run of the race from barrier 3 here. He was fairly luckless last start but finished off well, and he gets to the mile for the first time here. Damian Lane keeps the ride, and he’ll need to be kept off the rail if he’s to win, because if he’s held up behind the leader he may struggle to quicken with 60kg. (2) Valiant Spirit looks your likely leader and may be able to bounce back from a flat run last start. He won third up last prep, while (6) Crash Cranach will relish the mile and has some claims as the roughie of the field.
TIP: (8) Shalwa / (5) Armed And Ready EW
Nice race with some good horses resuming, but it’s not easy. (3) Freeze Over resumes for the first time since last May. She showed plenty of talent in her debut campaign; the last time we saw her she ran 2nd to Booker, who went on to be a Group 2 winner in the Spring. Freeze Over’s had two jumpouts at Flemington in preparation for this, leading throughout to win both. Her latest trial was the third quickest on the day, just 0.02 seconds slower than the quickest. The problem for her here is the speed drawn inside her, with possibly three or four runners kicking up, meaning she risks being caught wide if she can’t find the rail early. (1) Despatch is first up from an even longer spell. The last time we saw him was back in December 2016, 419 days ago. He also showed plenty of ability in his debut campaign, and he’s been gelded in his time off. Carries a big weight here even after the claim for Steph Thornton, but he’s won a strong trial at Geelong leading into this, with the likes of Villermont and Grunt in behind. (2) Banksome Chimes comes off a dominant Ballarat win last time out. We saw one of Weir’s 2YO’s follow a similar prep when winning dominantly at the Valley a couple weeks ago, and he should be able to trail the speed in front of him. The one I’m interested in, however, is the Hawkes runner (4) Star Search who is first up since June last year. He defeated Cliff’s Edge when breaking his maiden first up last prep, and we know how strong that form is (there was also a 5L gap back to the 3rd horse). He jumped out nicely at Flemington and should appreciate the hot tempo. Expect him to be hitting the line hard and the $8.50 appeals in a race with more questions than answers.
TIP: (4) Star Search EW
The barrier might kill us but (1) Greviste is ready to win tonight. He’s had three starts back from a spell and his latest run put the writing on the wall when beaten less than a length by Chippenham. He’s made gradual improvement each start and now the blinkers are reapplied at his fourth run back. He’s one of only three rides for Ben Melham on the night, and he’s won his only start at this track, though he did come down the outside on that occasion. He’s going to need a very clever ride to get clear from barrier 1. (5) Light ‘N’ Fire comes out of that same race behind Chippenham, when finishing 5th, beaten 2L. He was badly held up until the 200m mark though, and drops 2.5kg tonight with the claim for Ethan Brown. Drawn ideally and should be right in the finish. (2) Hunamosa is another that comes out of the Chippenham race. He was beaten just 0.5L back in 3rd, but had every chance, so I’ve got the other two ahead of him here. But he does map nicely. Backing (1) Greviste and (5) Light ‘N’ Fire, tipping the former.
TIP: (1) Greviste
I would be keen on (5) Straviera but I’m very concerned with both the barrier and the jockey. She comes off two good wins, and the form from her latest win has been franked through Holy Blade, who won his next start easily, but the last time this filly drew a similar barrier was three starts ago at this track and she was caught three-wide the trip. With a couple of speed runners drawn to her inside she once again risks being caught without cover, and if that happens it will be curtains. I really tried to avoid tipping (9) Oscietra, but that’s where I’ve ended up. I don’t think she’s particularly good, but this type of race is exactly what will suit her. She’s extremely speedy, and I think the only way she’ll win is if she can get across and find the rail, so I suspect they’ll be doing trying to lead at all costs. Her recent jumpout at Flemington was very impressive, and 955m at the Valley is her go. (8) Roddandtodd draws well and comes off a good run behind Nature Strip, beaten just 2.75L in 4th. Prior to that he won well at Warrnambool, so it would be no surprise to see him follow those up with a win here.
TIP: (9) Oscietra
One scratching so far so one of the four emergencies come in. Can’t plan for any further scratchings, so I’ll assume (14) Omaru, (15) Believing and (16) Trojan Storm will come out. Three horses that I’ll be interested in backing. (6) Sabotage has his second run in Australia here after a solid 4th first up from a year off the track at Flemington a few weeks back. That was a decent race and Leodoro has franked the form by winning his next start. Sabotage was only beaten 2L and should be much improved given how long he had off the track leading into that. Goes up in weight here but draws well and Williams jumps off Trojan Storm to ride him, which is a positive sign. (8) Comrade Ned is flying this preparation, with three wins from his past four starts. The one he didn’t win was because he got caught three-wide without cover. The form out of his last win is solid enough with Booradley (who he beat by 3.75L) coming out to go close at his next start. He’ll get back from the wide draw but can win. (7) Bee Jay Zed can pull out a run fresh and was competitive in this sort of grade at the start of last prep. He looks to get a great run from barrier 3 and could run a good race at big odds. (12) Seannie is favourite but I’m willing to take her on here. Her last performance of any note was as a two-year-old, and even though she competed in some decent three-year-old races last prep, she didn’t do much. She’s a three-year-old filly taking on older horses here and would want to return from a spell in pretty good fashion to win. Backing Sabotage ($6), Comrade Ned ($6) and Bee Jay Zed ($41).
TIP: (6) Sabotage / (8) Comrade Ned / (7) Bee Jay Zed
Normally find these staying races ugly but I’m relatively open to betting here. We backed (11) Diamond Grace first up last start, which was over this track and distance, and she ran a creditable 3rd. She was keen in the run and they crawled so she was let stride mid-race, using up plenty of energy. Her effort to stick on for 3rd was good, and she should have come on fitness-wise from that run. Draws well and once again carries just 52kg, so I’m going to follow my money and back her again at $4.50. (6) Gilchrist has carried 61kg+ in all four starts this prep and now drops in weight as he gets to 2500m – a distance he’s got a good record at. He was held up until the 200m mark last start, so if he can get clear running from the 600m tonight he may run a big race. Melham takes over and he’s one of just three on the night for him. Double figure odds appeals. (9) Dreaded can mix his form but two of his past three runs have been very good. From the good draw I’d expect another good run at $11. (4) Tuff Bickie, (8) Aurora Rose and (12) Raindrops On Roses are all others to throw in.
TIP: (11) Diamond Grace / (6) Gilchrist EW
Only two I’m interested in backing here. (9) True Excelsior is ben Melham’s best chance of the night according to the market, and I’ve backed his other two rides so it would be remiss of me not to back this one. The filly herself resumes from a spell and trialled sharply at Geelong recently in preparation for tonight. She won first up last preparation and has run well on all three occasions at this track. Needs a good ride but if she gets it she’ll go close. I’m very keen to have a good crack at (4) Avanti Rose from the Weir stable. She won at Yarra Valley two starts ago before going to Adelaide last start and winning once again. Back to Melbourne now, I’m expecting her to improve once again and from the good gate she should get a good sit behind the leaders. Well weighted after the claim and Ethan Brown is in great form. Big chance and $9 is well over the odds. (7) Separee could be ready to do something third up; (3) Club Tropicana, (8) Starvasive and (10) Falling Waters others to include. Having a good go at True Excelsior and Avanti Rose.
TIP: (9) Ture Excelsior / (4) Avanti Rose EW
5, 7, 8, 9
6, 7, 8, 12
6, 8, 9
3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10
$100 = 34.72%
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