With Good Friday being one of two days in the year where this is no racing in Australia, the Group 1 William Reid Stakes program at Moonee Valley will be run Thursday night. The program features the Group 2 Sunline Stakes and Group 3 Alexandra Stakes in addition to the $500,000 Group 1 Sprint, and we've previewed and offered racing tips for all three of the main races!
Group 3 race over the mile for the three-year-old fillies here and I'm happy to be sticking with the talented LAZUMBA who won at a decent price for us last start. I've followed this girl since her debut and she was up there with the likes of Jameka as a juvenile. Her win last start showed she has come back very well and she may get the drop on a hot pace here. Will need luck from barrier 3 but if they go hard out front she can swoop over the top at a good each way price.
Jacqui's Joy strung three wins together before going for a short break. She resumed last start in the Kewney at big odds and was held up from the 300m to the 100m so it could be worth giving her another chance. Well drawn and has won on soft tracks previously.
It's not often I back Gai Waterhouse runners in Melbourne but Sweet Redemption will have every chance of scoring here with the rail in the true position. She drops back from 2100m to 1600m after a short break but they'll have her ready to fire fresh. Should lead from barrier 4 with the blinkers back on. More of a place chance in my eyes.
Labdien ran wide the entire race during the Kewney and still finished 4th. McDonald booked for the ride is a good sign, and Thames Court is the other to include in a strong race.
2nd JACQUI'S JOY
4th SWEET REDEMPTION
LUCKY HUSSLER: Looks to have become a really genuine Group 1 horse this prep. Won easily under a big weight on the Gold Coast and then had no luck but charged home to finish 2nd in the Orr. Drop back to 1200m a query but he won this race last year and from barrier 5 he looks very tough to beat. Soft track could be concerning.
FLAMBERGE: Surprise winner of the Oakleigh Plate where he overcame top weight and the wide draw to win. His 2nd up record isn't as flash but he is well drawn and has a decent record at the track. Handles the wet and should go well.
THE QUARTERBACK: Fantastic win in the Newmarket, albeit surprising. Only carried 52kg there so way up in the weights with WFA conditions so not as well suited and will have to give them all a start. Will be running on late but not sure he can win this.
FAST 'N' ROCKING: Finished midfield in the Oakleigh Plate and generally takes a few runs to hit his straps and hates soft ground. Gets the blinkers back on but with the wide draw and the possibility of a soft track it's hard to make a case for him.
IT IS WRITTEN: Absolutely loves this track but has drawn awkwardly and probably prefers a firm track. On his day he could be a place chance but prepared to overlook him here.
CHURCHILL DANCER: Has run huge in his last three races, most notably last start where he finished 4th in the Newmarket with the low weight. Probably better suited down the Flemington straight but he's performed well here previosuly and with the good draw could sneak a place.
GREGERS: Midfield finish in the Oakleigh Plate but up in grade and drawn horribly here. Her second up record is outstanding but it's been a long time since she won. Place at best.
SCARLETT BILLOWS: Decent run first up in a fillies and mares race. Has finished in the top 2 at all three starts over this course and distance but this is tougher than anything she's faced. Draws the inside gate but that could also prove problematic given she may settle midfield. Place chance.
JAPONISME: Would be surprised if he ran here given Waller said there's a nice 3YO race back in Sydney in a couple weeks worth the same money and he's drawn very wide here. If he does run he is obviously a chance despite the wide draw. Goes well on soft tracks and has performed well in two strong Group 1's this prep.
HOLLER: I can't catch this horse. We backed him two starts ago and he was horrible, but then he came out and won a Group 1 at Randwick last start. Undefeated at this track and good record at the 1200m too.Soft track should be okay and he rates as a great chance on the back of his first Group 1 win.
HEADWATER: Decent win first up down the straight where he beat subsequent Group 1 winner The Quarterback (albeit with a huge weight swing) but failed last start when he had every chance. Blinkers go on first time here but he'd need to improve to finish in the money.
KINGLIKE: Can win. Definitely has the talent to be a Group 1 winner. Finished 2nd in Sydney first up to English who is flying. Undefeated over 1200m and has won his only start at the track. Has a win on soft ground, drawn well and can give this a real shake.
Good race with a few chances. I've got it between Lucky Hussler, Japonisme, Holler and Kinglike, just as the market suggests, with Flamberge, Churchill Dancer, The Quarterback and Scarlett Billows the place chances.
Might stick with Lucky Hussler who looks to have come back a serious Group 1 horse and I generally prefer to stick with the older horses in these types of races. If the track is anything worse than a Soft 5, however, I will be happy to let him go around as I don't think he's as effective.
Holler is undefeated at the track and won his first Group 1 last start in Sydney. He's got form on Soft tracks but the pace of this race could bring him undone. He won't get a soft lead and could be pressured the whole race. Another three-year-old, Kinglike, rates a big chance in this on the back of his first up run. He's got the talent, he's won at the Valley before and he's won on soft ground too.
I doubt if Japonisme will run but if he does he can definitely win. He will need an A1 ride from Hugh Bowman but if anyone can produce one in a big race it's Bowman.
Keep an eye on what the track is rated - if it is a Soft 5 or firmer then I will be happy to back Lucky Hussler, but if it's any worse than a Soft 5 I'll be backing the 3YO's Holler and Kinglike.
1st LUCKY HUSSLER
Weight-for-age Group 2 race over 2000m for the fillies and mares here and Fenway comes up favourite around the $3 mark. She has been racing in great form this prep at Group 1 level with a runner up placing behind Bow Creek and a 4th placed finish to Preferment. I would say she is possibly the best horse in the race but I think the barrier may see her come undone here and I'm happy to back a couple of others instead of her.
Noble Protector is one of those others I want to be on. We were on her first up when she reared and dumped the rider at the start of the race. Hoping she can refund us here. Her 2nd up record is very good (if we are counting her first run as a first up run) and the 2000m is ideal. She's won her only start here and has decent form on soft ground. Will need a good ride from barrier 8 but the $7 fixed on offer looks appealing.
Wawail is the other horse I am willing to back at around $7.50 fixed. Of course I jumped off her last start and she went out and won. She races well here and draws barrier 1 so she will be able to box seat and get the run of the race. First time at 2000m and jumping up from 1400m is obviously a query but willing to see how she goes. Has also won on soft ground before too.
Felicienne is the one to watch at around $9. She had been improving at each start this prep and that resulted in a strong win last start over 1600m. I expect she will improve once again and there may be more to come from her. Awkward draw but looks up to this level.
Miss Rose De Lago and Metaphorical others to consider.
1st NOBLE PROTECTOR
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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