Thu, Sep 27, 10:37am by Staff Writer
It’s AFL Grand Final day on Saturday which means a long weekend of punting with Moonee Valley under lights on Friday night followed by Underwood Stakes day at Caulfield on Sunday.
The Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) is the feature of the night at Moonee Valley with 13 accepted to run, Nature Strip ($2.20) a solid favourite. A winner of his last four with eight victories from 11 starts in all, he comes into this off a photo-finish win over Houtzen ($6.50) at this track and distance – and seemingly like after all his runs, pundits were split on whether it was a good win or not.
Perhaps not enough credit was given to Houtzen who is a speedy filly with a good record herself. A winner of six from 14 she’s amassed over $1.9m in prize money for her connections.
Voodoo Lad ($12) has won two from his past four, with two wins from three starts at the Valley, his only miss when fifth – beaten 1.8L – in this race last year. Stable mate Brave Smash ($11) is third-up after two thirds to Ball of Muscle ($11) over 1100m at his past two starts, the Joe Pride-trained gelding also third-up into his campaign.
Viddora ($10) was just pipped by She Will Reign in this race last year – although she’s since got that G1 win against her name – and she is one of six first-up starters in the race, Missrock ($20) one of those six. This has been a target race for the mare because of her fresh record which reads four wins from six first-up attempts.
On Sunday, Caulfield hosts the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) with ten set to take part in the feature.
Humidor ($3.60) got his first win at Caulfield two starts ago when taking out the G1 Memsie (1400m), the six-year-old finishing mid-field in the G1 Makybe Diva (1600m) since. He’s one of three runners for Darren Weir with Black Heart Bart ($16) – the 2016 winner of this race – and Tosen Basil ($51) his other two, the latter having his second career start in Australia, his first being when second last in the Makybe Diva.
Grunt ($3) was the winner of the Makybe Diva, the four-year-old relishing being back at Flemington on that occasion. His record doesn’t read too well at Caulfield with no wins from two attempts here although both were over the 1400m, one of those he was fifth but only beaten 1L.
Blair House ($6) is a Godolphin runner from the Charlie Appleby yard, and he always bares respect when bringing his horses to Australia – his strike rate of nine wins and four placings from 22 runners (in Australia) making good reading.
Homesman ($7.50) has a win over Almandin at his only appearance at Caulfield, the team Williams gelding coming off a photo-finish second in the G2 Feehan (1600m) when fresh. Comin’ Through ($7) was a G2 winner in Sydney when first-up, his most recent run when midfield to Grunt. Ambitious ($16) is yet to win a race in Australia from six attempts and he makes his Caulfield debut on Sunday. Bonneval ($21) won this race last year and she’s second-up after nearly a year off the scene while Pounamu ($151) is the bolter of the field.
Suggested Bet: Trap for Fools ($2.25, MV race 3, number 3) is a consistent galloper and he can continue on his winning way here. He’s won his last two over the track and distance, and even though there are improvers in the race – like The Taj Mahal – Trap for Fools is a fighter and hopefully he can hang on and claim his third straight win.
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