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Moonee Valley night racing – preview with race predictions

Fri, Mar 14, 7:56am by Daryl Curnow

Moonee-ValleyWhere: Moonee Valley, Melbourne.

When: Friday, March 14. First races starts at 6:45pm.

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Race 1 – Simpson Construction Handicap (2040m)

Grand Sai Wan has opened the $2.60 favourite across all four bookmakers and the five-year-old will be looking to improve on his third placing behind Tigerland last time out. The Peter Burgun-trained gelding is a five-win horse who steps up to his pet distance where he has placed on three occasions from four starts. The son of Hotel Grand has placed at the Valley and Jye McNiel’s apprentice claim will come to good use.

Commemorate has had a lengthy campaign but the No Excuse Needed gelding put two wins together earlier this season and he’s going well enough in recent starts. The four-year-old steps up in grade for this which isn’t ideal but Patrick Moloney gets a 2kg claim taking his starting weight to only 53kg where he will be extremely competitive. His $4 quote is a touch short but he’s not without a chance.

Gai Waterhouse trains Valediction who arrives from Sydney with solid form. The Zabeel six-year-old hasn’t been overly impressive in his last two runs with his best result being a fourth, but Waterhouse has a knack of converting her horses into reasonable stayers. He drops in weight severely to 55kg from his previous 57.5 and Chad Schofield is in good current form. He has won his only two starts when racing fresh and that statistic sticks out.

Prediction: Valediction to win ($4) at

Race 2 – Newmarket Insurance/TBV Handicap (2040m)

Crucial is an Anthony Freedman-trained mare who ran a close second behind Text’n Hurley who has since ran a placing in a very strong field last week. The Nadeem five-year-old hasn’t done too much wrong this campaign and her course stats read well. She has placed in both runs at Moonee Valley and her pattern of racing handy will suit over this distance. She opened at $2.40 and has been bet into $2.30 which is a justifiable price.

Summerbliss has plenty of class about her but the run last time out was too bad to be true. The Michael Kent-trained mare looked to have any amount of potential when she raced in the ATC Oaks but she has since failed to find her best form. She needs a big track to wind up and the Valley isn’t her go with only one placing from three starts, however at $4.60 she is well in the market and at her best she would put away this field.

Each week at Moonee Valley more and more Tasmanian horses are coming over to spoil the riches and this week Bill Ryan saddles up Iggimacool. The three-year-old filly has won five from 10 starts with the latest coming in the Tasmanian Oaks over 2100 metres. The British-bred filly has the inside barrier draw and she has been specked in the betting at $4.40.

Prediction: Crucial to win ($2.30) at

Race 3 – Telstra Phonewords Handicap (1200m)

The first sprint of the night sees a very even field with Stratumsphere opening as the $4.60 favourite. The Darren Weir-trained five-year-old was disappointing when finishing ninth at Geelong last time out but he finished only three lengths from the winner and his prior run for second was good. The son of Stratum put two wins together earlier this campaign with a win coming in rating 72 grade. He drops to rating 70 for this and his chances appear bright.

Beach Front is an underrated type from the Brent Stanley stables who ran a quality second behind Minaj on this track in a rating 90 graded race. The four-year-old is a four-race winner and she beat the quality type Five All four starts back on this track. She has drawn wide which is a concern over this distance but she will head back and rush home late.

Dasilva is a three-win mare who put all three wins together earlier this campaign. The Choisir four-year-old finished strongly last time out and she’s having her first run on this track for trainer Mark Riley. She has won twice over this distance and she gets a nice barrier draw of two to launch her claim.

Prediction: Stratumsphere to win ($4.60) at

Race 4 – Chandler McLeod St Albans Stakes (1200m)

Bring Me The Maid has been scratched from tomorrow’s racing at Sydney to run here and the Peter Moody-trained filly looks to have a bright future. The daughter of Sebring won on debut in the Sports 1000 Listed event at Flemington after closely strongly to narrowly defeat race rival Husson Eagle. She opened in the betting at $2.50 and fluctuated into $2.40 early but has since drifted back out to $2.70. From an ideal barrier draw it’s likely that she will run in the first three.

Husson Eagle ran very impressively for second behind the favourite on debut and the Patrick Payne-trained colt looks to have a lot of upside. The Husson two-year-old was crowded for room in the early stages of the 1000 metre event and he then copped a check thereafter. Jockey Michelle Payne pulled him out in the straight and he flew home to miss out by only a nose. He is an interestingly-bred colt and he has been punted positively after opening at $4, moving into $3.80.

Orujo is a Peter Snowden-trained colt who last won at Bendigo by three lengths. The son of Exceed And Excel ran a fair fifth on debut at Caulfield behind the talented Nordic Empire before running a quality second in the Talindert Listed event at Flemington. That placing stacks up very well for this as stated at Bendigo and he has been bet in from $5 to $4.50 already.

Prediction: Orujo to win ($4.50) at

Race 5 – Essendon Mazda 55 Second Challenge (955m)

Brilliant Bisc gets a massive class drop after her last five runs have come in either listed, group two or group one level. The Peter Moody-trained filly ran seventh behind Snitzerland in the Group One Lightning Handicap two starts back and any kind of form around those quality horses is good for this. The daughter of Elvstroem will need to pick up her form but she has won at the distance before and this field lacks any sort of quality. She has slightly drifted in the market from $2.70 to $2.80.

Prettyhappyaboutit loves these 955 metre events and the Robbie Griffiths-trained mare is looking to improve on her recent effort for second. The Magnus four-year-old has won on one occasion at Moonee Valley with a further three placings from five starts and due to Harry Coffey’s 3kg claim, she will carry only 52kg which makes her very competitive and she has been bet into $4.60 from her opening price of $5.

Lady Melksham is a mare who either wins or doesn’t run a place but the five-year-old has a great record fresh having won three from her four starts. The John Sadler-trained runner has had her fair share of injury problems and she hasn’t raced since September but her record when racing fresh is a glaring indicator that she will be ready to go. She races well with the sting out of the track so if there is any rain around her chances increase ten-fold.

Prediction: Brilliant Bisc to win ($2.80) at

Race 6 – $223,500 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m)

Feature race:

Scratchy Bottom has been asking for this distance and the Michael Kent-trained filly finally gets it. The daughter of Sebring won on debut at the Valley by 3.5 lengths before running fourth in the Group Two Moonee Valley Classic. The three-year-old then won again when fresh before finishing off well for fourth last time out in the Group Three Vanity Stakes. She has been looking to step up to the longer distances and she should relish the conditions for this event. She hasn’t budged in the market and is holding steady at $4.80 with which is better than the $4.20 being offered at

Surge Ahead has been the best backed runner having moved from his opening quote of $8 to $6. The Anthony Cummings-trained gelding ran a gamely sixth in the Australian Guineas a fortnight ago behind the Cox Plate winning Shamus Award and if he can run to a similar merit he is a great chance here. He won the Listed Connoisseur Stakes at Flemington late last year and even though he has drawn wide in barrier 12, he should have a good chance at running in the money.

Late Charge also ran in the Australian Guineas but the three-year-old received no luck in the running and duly ran a disappointing ninth. He was three-wide for most of the trip but his third in the Group Two Autumn Stakes is a better guide and he has been well supported in the market at $6.50. The concern is that he hasn’t won for some time now and he has drawn wide in barrier 11 but he is a quality colt with good potential.

Prediction: Scratchy Bottom to win ($4.80) at

Race 7 – Adapt Australia Abell Stakes (1200m)

The Mick Price-trained Mandla is putting together a nice record which includes five wins and four placings from only 11 starts. The four-year-old was never in doubt when winning on this track last time out with a 1.75-length win in a rating 90 field. The son of Bel Esprit drops in weight for this and will carry only 54kg for this run. He has won and placed at Moonee Valley and he was won on four occasions at this distance. This is a step up in class but there is no denying his recent top form.

Go The Knuckle was a tough winner on this track last time out and he is well placed to repeat that effort. The Robert Smerdon-trained gelding is a four-time winner who usually flies under the radar but the books have installed him the second favourite at $6.50. He has won and placed three times on this track and he shouldn’t find this field any tougher than his previous runs. He ran second in the Sandown Stakes two starts back and that form will take him a long way here.

Desert Wizard opened at $5.50 but has quickly drifted to $7. The Nigel Blackiston-trained gelding has won both starts when fresh and he was good enough to win three straight races last preparation. The four-year-old ran seventh behind Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente in the Group Two Feehan Stakes but then he disappointing in his last start when also finishing seventh but in a much easier field. He is a good lightweight chance here at only 54kg.

Prediction: Mandla to win ($4.20) at

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