Fri, Jan 20, 4:06pm by Senior Writer
With summer at its peak, autumn is just around the corner and that means a return to the best racing across Australia.
The turning point in terms of the best horses returning in Melbourne is usually around Australia Day, which is next Thursday. That’s when we start to see the better ones come back to racing, at the Moonee Valley meeting next Friday night as well as the Australia Day meeting at Caulfield.
As for this week at the Valley, there are certainly no stars running around, but they are strong enough fields to have confidence in what we are betting on.
Our best of the day comes up in Race 4 No.1 Burning Front. I tipped Burning front about six weeks ago as my best value when he finished second at Pakenham, and he’s had two starts since, including a last start win at Caulfield.
He strikes a weak field this week at a track where he has won twice before from four starts. He may be top weight, but he’s just 4kg above the minimum and should get a sweet run from barrier 5. The punters have already swooped on him, and he has been $2.50 into $1.65 since markets opened on Wednesday.
I would hope that price gets out again ahead of raceday, but there is no guarantee. The move tells us that the market is as confident as we are in his chances. And that’s a good thing.
Our Best Value, that comes up in Race 3 No.4 Sassoon. This guy won his first start impressively over 1500m at Bendigo, had a bit of a let-up and then disappointed after he missed the kick at Flemington next start. But his most recent run at Sandown was very good. Again, he got back in the field, but after copping a bump as they turned from home worked home well for fifth, only a couple of lengths off the winner.
He steps up to the 2040m here and that looks entirely suitable for him. What’s best for the punters out there is that he is currently $12 with bookies. That’s terrific value for a horse who only needs some speed in this race for him to be right in the finish.
Here’s the full preview of the entire Moonee Valley meeting.
WATCH: Our Preview of Moonee Valley on Saturday
Race 1 William Hill Handicap – 1200m
1st: 1. Invincible Al ($4)
2nd: 3. Gratwick ($7)
3rd: 2. Mr Sneaky ($4.80)
4th: 6. Strictly Legit ($4)
Summary: Like Invincible Al (again) in this one. Was saved for one run last time and probably got going too late, but the extra 100m here will suit as will the 2kg claim for Beau Mertens. Gratwick has been performing consistently against good quality opposition and gets his chance here. Mr Sneaky will push forward and prove hard to run down, while Strictly Legit looks to be a good horse in the making.
Betting Confidence: Very confident in Invincible Al here. He just needs a bit of pace on and he’ll be running over them late.
Race 2 Schweppes Lemonade Hcp – 1600m
1st: 2. Kiss Me Ketut ($16)
2nd: 6. La Speciale ($2.25)
3rd: 7. Zasorceress ($5.50)
4th: 3. Aurora Glow ($5)
Summary: Feel Kiss Me Ketut is excellent value here. If you ignore her last run and go on her three previous runs this campaigns, she is right in this. She is a two-time winner at this track. La Speciale was a good thing beaten last time and judging by her price, the punters haven’t missed that. Zasorceress charged home first-up and looks set for a good campaign, while Aurora Glow has also returned in great order.
Betting Confidence: Confident Kiss Me Ketut is well above the odds here, and is worth an each way play.
Race 3 Metcash Hcp – 2040m
1st: 4. Sassoon ($12)
2nd: 1. Atlantic Express ($6)
3rd: 8. Igitur ($7.50)
4th: 2. Matamanoa ($7.50)
Summary: As mentioned earlier, Sassoon looks attractive odds on his good run last time from back in the field. The step up in distance looks ideal and so long as he gets some pace in the race, he should be there to fight it out late. Atlantic Express won that race at Sandown and showed a fair bit of fight there. Think he will be thereabouts again. Igitur did a lot wrong last time, but going on his runs prior to that, is in this race. Matamanoa won well last time and is a stayer of some promise.
Betting Confidence: Confident that Sassoon will give you a good run for your money at excellent value.
Race 4 Vobis Gold Star
1st: 1. Burning Front ($1.65)
2nd: 2. Refulgent ($6.50)
3rd: 5. Hard Call ($4.40)
4th: 8. Cosmic Lights ($13)
Summary: Barring bad luck, Burning Front should just win this. He is a class above his rivals here and gets off well on the weights. Should be winning. Stablemate Refulgent was very brave in winning at Warrnambool last time. Has a good record at the Valley. Hard Call won well last time and on that is in with a shot here, while Cosmic Lights has obvious talent and will be coming home late if he gets a quiet run from an inside barrier.
Betting Confidence: Very confident in Burning Front packing too much power for them here.
Race 5 Schweppervescence Hcp – 1600m
1st: 5. Domino Vitale ($2.70)
2nd: 3. King’s Command ($5)
3rd: 9. Sword of Justice ($8)
4th: 2. Hipparchus ($5.50)
Summary: Domino Vitale was super impressive at Flemington last time and fancy he can take that form here to what looks to be a similar quality race. King’s Command was horrible last start, but trust he’ll appreciate the Valley a lot more and get back to his best. Sword of Justice was a good Sandown winner last time and keeps Damien Lane on board which is a huge bonus. Hipparchus is a big watch of a freshen-up, especially with ben Melham taking the ride.
Betting Confidence: Confident Domino Vitale is the one to beat, albeit at below the rights odds.
Race 6 Schweppes Spraking Hcp – 2040m
1st: 1. Cool Chap ($4.60)
2nd: 6. Big Duke ($2)
3rd: 3. Shikarpour ($6.50)
4th: 7. Use The Lot ($41)
Summary: Cool Chap looks ready to win off a very good first-up run off a break. He was beaten by less than a length over 1800m and will benefit from the distance rise. Big Duke handled an easier task last time with content, winning by 4.5 lengths. He looks very progressive and will prove hard to toss in this race. Stablemate Shikarpour never, ever runs a bad race and has won or been placed his past eight runs. Use The Lot is at massive odds and is in good form. He is capable of causing a big upset as well.
Betting Confidence: Not a great deal between this lot, but feel Cool Chap is the value on his good run last time. Use the Lot and even Hursley are worth a play at very long odds.
Race 7 Schweppes Indian Tonic – 1000m
1st: 7. Lady Esprit ($5.50)
2nd: 2. Crystal Dreamer ($4.60)
3rd: 9. Manolo Blahniq ($5.50)
4th: 3. Runsati ($8.50)
Summary: Lady Esprit seems nice odds for a mare who won impressively at the same track and distance last time. She’s steps up in class, but can handle this lot., especially from an inside barrier. Crystal Dreamer has hit a purple patch with a hat-trick of wins and well-placed to make it four in a row in this. Manolo Blahniq was beaten just 3.5 lengths in a Group 1 last start which looks good for this, while Runsati is a consistent horse who loves the Valley where he has had seven starts for two wins and three placings.
Betting Confidence: Confident that Lady Esprit is superior value here and is well worth having a bet on
Race 8 Sandwich Chiefs Hcp – 1200m
1st: 1. It Is Written ($8)
2nd: 5. Exclusive Lass ($8)
3rd: 2. Smart Dart ($7)
4th: 4. Kievann ($7)
Summary: It Is Written notched his eighth Moonee Valley win last time and think he can make it number nine in this race, which looks a little light on for quality. Barrier 1 is a huge bonus. Exclusive Lass is a Valley winner 18 months ago over this distance and comes back from Listed class into a winnable race with just 55.5kg. Smart Dart was third in that race and has had a great campaign so has to be considered, as does Kievann, who saves his best for the Valley.
Betting Confidence: It Is Written looks great value here given he is back in winning form.
Race 9 Jacob Scweppe – 1200m
1st: 6. Cheeky Babe ($6.50)
2nd: 8. Ameristralia ($2.15)
3rd: 4. Prussian Vixen ($11)
4th: 9. Grey Street ($17)
Summary: Cheeky Babe has been excellent this campaign and in six starts for Darren Weir has had two wins and four placings. One of those wins was over this track and distance in October and that’s a great pointer for her to perform well here, despite a wide barrier. Ameristralia was ordinary last time but clearly has class and could turn it around here. Prussian Vixen looks nice odds at $11 when you consider she beat four of her rivals her., including Ameristralia, last time. Grey Street has been consistent without placing this camapign and can improve here.
Betting Confidence: Really like the look of Cheeky Babe in this race, especially at the each-way odds.
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