Fri, Sep 5, 10:27am by Daryl Curnow
Two very nice horses resume their spring campaigns at Moonee Valley as The Offer runs in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes and the world’s best sprinter Lankan Rupee is odds-on to win the McEwen Stakes. It should be a great days action and we provide a free betting guide with analysis and tips.
The Darren Weir-trained Count Encosta has turned his form around completely by winning three of his last five starts and the other two were second place efforts. The eight-year-old was sent out the short $2.25 favourite last time out at Moonee Valley where he won narrowly and he has been elected the favourite again. He opened at $2.70, drifted out to $3 but has been bet back into $2.60 where he holds clear favouritism over Mulaqen. The son of Encosta De Lago is now a six-win gelding and Damian Lane will ride at the light weight of only 54kg, making him yet another winning chance.
Mulaqen currently sits at $4.80 after getting out as high as $5.50. The Chris Waller-trained gelding finished third in this grade last start behind Crafty Cruiser and the conditions don’t really change much. The seven-year-old usually grinds away but he hasn’t found the winners enclosure for some time and he needs to start showing his best form to compete this spring. He has placed only once at this course but the good ground is his best asset and he should get conditions to suit. Top staying jockey Glen Boss is in the saddle and he could make all the difference.
Hippopus is a nice each way value runner at $7.50. The Gai Waterhouse-trained gelding wasn’t able to kick in the straight after setting a solid pace last start but that was only his second run this campaign and he will be fitter for that. The well bred son of High Chaparral is a four-time winner whose only disappointing run last season came in the Group One Sydney Cup. He can handle any track condition and he is definitely worth another chance at such good odds. There isn’t much to this field so his chances appear bright and he has come in for some specking in the betting.
Recommended bet: Hippopus to win ($7.50) at Centrebet.com
Text’n Hurley is a classy mare who ran on well last start over the unsuited 1400 metres. The Colin Little-trained mare burst onto the scene last season when winning the Group Two Sunline Stakes on this track – that win coming by 2.5 lengths – and she kept her unbeaten record at Moonee Valley with that win. The five-year-old daughter of Hard Spun showed a good turn of foot in most of her runs and she has never finished worse than third in four runs at this distance. The five-time winner does rise in weight from 54kg to 61kg but promising apprentice Regan Bayliss takes a much needed 3kg off and that brings her right into contention. She opened at $3.40 and has drifted slightly to $3.50 but nothing strong enough to worry favourite punters.
Aliyana has been the best backed runner in this race. The Darren Weir-trained mare opened at $4.80 and has joined Text’n Hurley at $3.50. The six-year-old turned her poor form around with a win two starts back at Flemington and she was narrowly beaten last time out on this track. The daughter of Zabeel has always shown potential but her form tapered off last season but now she’s back in action and running well. She is a three time winner at this distance and because she rises in grade, her weight drops to 54kg where she will be very competitive. Don’t discount.
Reckless Assassin is also well favoured in the market at $4.80 following a last start win at Flemington. The John Sadler-trained mare has an impressive career record of 16 starts for six wins and two placings and she won two starts back by two lengths. The daughter of Redoute’s Choice does rise in grade for this but she has been winning her races very easily and this grade shouldn’t hold her for too long. She is unbeaten in two runs on this track but she wants a good track so keep an eye on the weather.
Recommended bet: Text’n Hurley to win ($3.50) at Sportingbet.com.au
The Peter Moody-trained Caveka has extremely unlucky to not finish closer than seventh last start on this track. The three-year-old missed the jump in the Listed McKenzie Stakes but went for a run on the inside but the gap closed and he was forced to pull up near the line. The son of Written Tycoon won on debut at Geelong by three lengths and there is no doubting he would have gone close to winning last start with some luck. He has drawn well in barrier four and Luke Nolen should be able to find a nice run in transit over the longer distance of 1500 metres. Punter agree, electing him the early $3 favourite after getting backed into $2.80 earlier this week.
Breath Of Life finished third on debut at Seymour before winning by 1.5 lengths at the same track second up. The Robert Smerdon-trained colt has been heavily backed in from $4.80 to $4 and his breeding suggests he will have no problems with stretching out to the 1500 metre distance. The son of Commands last raced over 1309 metres and the extra distance will be right up his alley. The dam was by Zabeel so he will only get better the further he goes and punters have climbed in early. He has drawn the inside barrier and with a light weight of only 55.5kg, he looks like a nice progressive chance in this.
The Spitfire is an interesting runner for the Hayes/Dabernig training team after winning easily at Sandown last start. The Fastnet Rock colt was heavily backed into $1.90 and the plunge was successful as he ran away a 1.5-length winner. His best run prior was a fifth placing in the Group Two VRC Sires’ behind Zululand and stepping back up to this distance will suit him perfectly. There are some smart types in this field but he looks like a nice place hope at odds of $12 and Craig Williams has jumped on in the saddle.
Recommended bet: Caveka to win ($3) at Centrebet.com
Wrotham Heath has come in a full point to $3 after opening at $4. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained gelding is a three-time winner from 16 starts and he was extremely unlucky last time out at Moonee Valley. The six-year-old finished fourth after getting shuffled back during the run and then getting blocked in the straight. Once clear, he flew home but the bird had flown and he should be forgiven for that run. He drops in grade for this and it would be a disappointing run if he didn’t finish in the first three.
The Monica Sid-trained Vizhaka is a last start winner at Sandown by 2.25 lengths and he comes into this with a good track record at Moonee Valley. The seven-year-old winner of six races has had three starts here with one win and one placing and this distance is now ideal for him. He is an adaptable type who has won on all surfaces except dead, where he has placed twice. This isn’t the easiest race for him on the back of a rating 78 win but the bookmakers have kept him safe at $7.
Warwarick finished sixth in a rating 78 event last time out but she was finishing off nicely and the extra distance suits. The daughter of High Chaparral isn’t getting any younger – eight year old – but she continues to put in good efforts and the step up to 2040 metres is a distance she has won twice at. Her win three starts back on this course came in a rating 90 race and if she can replicate that form she will go close. Her best efforts come on a dead surface where she has won five times and placed a further three times from 12 starts but she can handle a firmer track. She opened at $8 and has since drifted out to $9 but she remains a solid each way chance.
Recommended bet: Wrotham Heath to win ($3) at Sportingbet.com.au
Eloping – the best of the rest – is fresh up having last run fourth in the Group Two Champagne Classic at Doomben. The three-year-old filly has won half of her eight career starts and she has the ability to sprint well in a fres state. She won her only start first up and two wins have come at the extreme sprinting distance. The daughter of Choisir likes to go forward and her barrier draw of two will allow her to sit on the pace and kick hard in the straight. She won a $250,000 race at Bendigo by six lengths and if she can get a break around the home turn, she won’t be the easiest to run down over such a short distance. Bookies aren’t risking her at $8.
The New Zealand runner Cauthen was not meant to be racing in this race but was balloted out in the Drummond Golf Stakes. Instead, the Trent Busuttin/Natalie Young-trained horse will line up here and he will be set for a solid spring campaign but the 1000 metres might be too short for him here. He has won twice from five starts including the Listed McKenzie Stakes on this track this time last year. His course record is good with one win and one placing but he will likely be out-sprinted by Lankan Rupee and he should be a touch flat footed in this. Despite that, he is a promising type and isn’t worth a place bet at $21 and $3.
Recommended bet: Lankan Rupee to win ($1.28) at Centrebet.com (good multi-builder bet)
The Mark Kavanagh-trained Pickin’ Time is the surprising $4.40 favourite after opening at $7.50. The Fastnet Rock filly has been slammed in the betting but we believe she will lengthen out as the race draws nearer. The three-year-old finished second on debut in the Listed Adelaide Stakes behind Bullpit and then she disappointed when favourite next time out at Flemington. She looked unsuited by the wet conditions and Glen Boss has stuck with her so he is confident. The extra distance should help her and it will pay to keep an eye on the market.
Sabatini looked the goods last start when winning the Group Three Quizette at Caulfield. The Street Cry filly started her career with a second placing at Bendigo but followed it up with a solid 3.75-length win. She powered home to win last start and even though she rises in weight for this, her chances appear bright based on what we’ve seen so far. Her breeding suggests that she will handle further than 1200 metres but she will likely get back in the run from barrier 13 and look for her to be doing her best work late. She opened at $5.50 and has been nicely bet into $4.80.
London Lolly was a touch disappointing last start at Caulfield but she was fresh up and she should have benefited from that effort. The Hawkes-trained filly was fourth in the Group Three Quizette but she was put into a winning position but just didn’t fire. The daughter of Charge Forward will be better suited here and she was good enough to beat rising star Go Indy Go in the Group Three Breeders’ Stakes in March. She has plenty of pace and although the barrier of 10 won’t help, she looks like a strong winning hope. There has been no support for her after opening at $6.50, drifting out to $8.50.
Recommended bet: London Lolly to place ($2.90) at Centrebet.com
The Melbourne Cup favoured, The Offer, resumes here after three straight wins. The Gai Waterhouse-trained import looked the goods last season when winning the Group One Sydney Cup and 22% of all Melbourne Cup bets have been placed on the six-year-old. The six-win son of Montjeu relished the wet conditions in the winter but he is expected the struggle in the early stages of the spring as he gears towards the Cup. There is concern that he is purely a wet tracker but he has won on a good track and his trial efforts have been solid. Bookies have him at $11 to win here and the 1600 metres will likely be too short but he is an obvious watch horse for the spring.
Star Rolling looked good last August when winning the Group Two Lawrence Stakes and he has come of age in recent times. The five-year-old was an upset winner in that race but he is facing a few resuming stayers in this and the punters are confident he can make it back-to-back. The winner of five from 12 missed a placing at his only start at Moonee Valley but he has drawn well for this and the track conditions should suit. He opened at $4.20 and has been firmed into $4.
The Cleaner is suited perfectly to Moonee Valley as his record suggests. The Mick Burles-trained gelding has had four starts here for two wins and two placings, including a last start win over the mile. The 16-time winner from Tasmania is the best performed horse to come from there in Australia and his front running style makes him awfully tough to beat He is a seven-time winner at this distance and he will likely roll forward from barrier two and kick around the tight Valley track. There is no reason as to why he can’t keep winning from in front and it wouldn’t pay to overlook this talented runner. His opening quote of $5.50 has firmed into $5 and we expect more support to come later in the piece.
Recommended bet: The Cleaner to win ($5) at Sportsbet.com.au
Our Voodoo Prince was highlighted in our horses to watch this spring article and he will be much stronger for this run after a last start ninth. The Chris Waller-trained gelding put his stamp on the mid-staying events last season when winning the Group Three Easter Cup at only his third run in Australia. The imported son of Kingmambo recorded three straight wins and remained perfect on our shores. Forgive his latest run as it was just that, a run. He has won three times second up and although he is looking for more ground, he isn’t without a hope in this at $6.50 after opening at $7.
Down in the weights if the Michael Kent-trained Pyrrolic who has been running well in age restricted races of late. The four-year-old finished fourth last start but he was running on well and the extra distance should suit nicely. He beat a solid runner in Hard Stride three starts back at Flemington and he is right down in the weights at 52kg after apprentice Jackie Beriman takes 2kg off his back. His two career wins have both come on slow tracks but money has come in for him at $3.80 after opening at $4.20.
St Jean has also been well supported at $4.20 since opening at $5. The Aaron Purcell-trained horse is unbeaten in two starts second up and he finished off his race strongly last time out on this track. The five-year-old won back-to-back rating 90 events earlier this year and if he can show form similar then he’s a chance here. This field is talented but he will carry only 54kg and that makes him a winning chance.
Recommended bet: Our Voodoo Prince to win ($6.50) at Sportingbet.com.au
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