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Before The First - Moonee Valley

Race 1 Ladbrokes Info Hub Handicap (1200m) - 3-7-9-8

Tahitian Dancer - She ran well in a fast race at Sandown on debut, which was dominated by those on speed. She should be open to plenty of natural improvement with that run under her belt and might be able to settle a pair closer from the barrier.

Sunrise Dancer - I liked her debut at Werribee in a fast race in which they ran significantly faster time than the race in which Blonde Choice and Hill Of Grace came through. She might be able to settle closer to the speed from the barrier and is open to plenty of improvement.

Darmasun - She caught the eye on debut at Geelong and then pulled up lame at her second start at Racing.com Park. Her recent jumpouts suggest she might have come back a better filly and it won't surprise at all if she measures up from an ideal barrier.

Symphonette - She gets blinkers on for the first time after running well in Adelaide on debut, where she might have been beaten by a pretty handy galloper.  With the blinkers going on and the experience of that first race under her belt she looks among the winning chances.


Suggested bet: Darmasun each way
Race 2 Friends Of Epworth Plate (1600m) - 5-2-1-8

Linguist - She was pretty impressive winning third-up at Cranbourne, beating the likes of Silvera and Spanner Head comfortably. She's potentially open to further improvement fourth-up as fourth up last preparation she recorded her career-peak performance to date when a dominant winner on Oaks Day at Flemington, comfortably having the measure of Another Bullseye. Apprentice Liam Riordan will likely be positive early and with his 3kg claim she'll be hard to run down.

Another Bullseye - She had been racing in career-best form before an easily forgivable run at Flemington last start where she was caught wide without cover. Linguist did beat her by more than five lengths last preparation but I doubt Another Bullseye was going anywhere near as well.

Hectopascal - She produced what I thought was a career-peak performance last start when chasing the talented Jamaican Rain in fast time. The pattern was in her favour that day, however, and whether it will be with the rail out four metres is a query.

Snogging - She wasn't too bad behind the subsequent Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar last start and did win impressively at this distance at Caulfield two starts ago.

Suggested bet: Linguist win

Race 3 Device Technologies Sprint (1200m) - 5-3-11-9

Artie Dee Two - He beat a subsequent winner two starts ago second-up and was probably beaten by a slow start last time. After beginning slowly he then over-raced before reeling off the quickest last 400-metre sectional in the race to finish third in a race dominated by the two leaders. With a better start he can settle much closer to the speed and he is two from two at the track and distance.

Bord De Gain - He's a bit of an underrated sprinter that was too good in Adelaide last start. This is tougher but he did win his only start at this track and distance impressively despite a tough run.

Seven Year Reward - He's a hard horse to catch but he was good last start when narrowly beaten by Highland Beat at Sandown, where he did finish ahead of Artie Dee Two. He's fit, can make his own luck on the speed and meets both Moonlover and Wind Force better off at the weights for a narrow defeat at this track and distance last preparation.

Wind Force - He was very good first-up at Warrnambool behind subsequent Golden Topaz winner Inn Keeper and then I doubt he was suited being ridden to suit the pattern last start. He might have further improvement to come third-up and did beat Moonlover/Seven Year Reward at this track and distance last preparation.

Suggested bet: Artie Dee Two win

Race 4 Silver Thomas Hanley Plate (1200m) - 5-2-8-13

Princeton Spirit - He was impressive winning in fast time two starts ago in a race that has produced multiple subsequent winners. He was then ridden more negatively at Sandown last start, which I think worked against him, particularly with the pattern against him. He's a progressive horse and with a more aggressive ride and the rail out four metres he might be hard to run down.

King River - The rain forecast for Saturday could be the key to his chances. His trainer John Price said he'd been waiting for a wet track and he duly delivered at Caulfield last start in impressive fashion. He hadn't shown anything like that form on firmer surfaces so the conditions will hold the key.

Brahmos - He was no match for King River two starts ago but might have had enough last start at Flemington or simply not have been at his best down the straight. He's drawn for an ideal run and if you forgive his last start, which is easy to do, then he looks one of the key chances.

Good Therapy - I've liked both of his two runs this preparation and third-up he might now be ready to produce a peak performance. He might also now be fit enough that they ride him aggressively from a wider draw.

Suggested bet: Princeton Spirit win

Race 5 Catanach's Jewellers Plate (1200m) - 3-2-4-6

Inn Keeper - He's simply a very good sprinter that took his record to four from four this preparation and seven from nine overall with a tough win in the Golden Topaz, beating a last-start Stakes winner in First Among Equals. He's unbeaten in six starts on tracks rated Soft or worse and looking at the forecast it's hard to see this track being firm. He makes his own luck on the speed and is the one to beat.

Widgee Turf - He ran really well off a moderate speed at Randwick over 1100m last start, which is short of his best distance. The extra 100m suits, however, the query is it does still look short of his best distance, he concedes Inn Keeper 4kg and perhaps more significantly he'll likely be a fair way behind that horse in the run.

Camdus - He had no luck at a crucial stage last start when he looked to be travelling like the winner. He should be just about at peak fitness third-up.

Ashlor - He had to make his run on the inside of the winner last start, which was probably the difference between winning and losing.

Suggested bet: Inn Keeper win

Race 6 Epi Cafe Plate (1000m) - 4-3-6-2

Rillito - The obvious query is whether 1000m proves too sharp, particularly from the wide draw, but she looks the class runner in the race. I don't mind the wider draw from the perspective that it should allow her to build momentum and her most recent trial behind Moss Trip was encouraging. Whether this is the right race I'm not sure but she looks the one that could progress to better things.

Chiavari - She has a good record at the track and distance, having never missed the top four in three starts. She was too tough for Strykinglee first-up at Sandown with 59kg and might improve again with that run under her belt. She can make her own luck on the speed and Damien Oliver goes on.

Balancing Act - She had the right run first-up off a nice trial but was still good enough to win beating a smart horse in You've Been Had. She might have further improvement to come second-up, is drawn well and has a good record at the distance.

Showpero - She let down impressively to win in Adelaide first-up and the last time she raced at Moonee Valley she beat all bar Invincible Al, which reads well for a race like this.

Suggested bet: No bet

Race 7 Embassy Print Solutions Sprint (1000m) - 2-5-7-3

Miss Leonidas - She was most impressive winning on a wet track wearing a cross-over nose band for the first time two starts ago at Ballarat. She then tackled a stronger race at Flemington last week, where she was the best of those closer to the inside. Back against her own sex she looks very well placed.

Layel - I thought she was a smart filly following her first two starts and was disappointed when she finished second last at Flemington. Her subsequent all-the-way win at Sandown, beating two smart fillies in Grey Shadow and Magnesium Rose, proved that Flemington run was simply too bad to be true. She looks sharp enough that the drop back to 1000m might not be a negative.

Keano Town - She went well at Caulfield and Sandown racing on the speed but added a new string to her bow last start at Moonee Valley where she hit the line hard late after missing the start. With a better start she might be able to lead here but at least jockey Brian Higgins now has options.

Tarcoola Spirit - I don't mind her dropping back to 1000m with a four-week gap between runs. My concern is if the track is playing to those near the front then she will potentially have to either do plenty of work early or risk being too far back.

Suggested bet: Miss Leonidas win

Race 8 GJK Facility Services Plate (2040m) - 1-6-8-5

Lite'n In My Veins - He was really impressive stepping up to 2000m for the first time this preparation and only the second time in his career last start in a race where they simply went too fast. They went faster to the 600-metre mark than they did in last year's Cox Plate and understandably they got very tired late but he was terrific holding on to win. The query is whether that race has taken too much out of him.

My Nordic Hero - He's been terrific in two fast races in both of his past two starts. My concern was that Lite'n In My Veins was closer to the brutal speed and having his first run at 2000m last start suggesting there might have been more merit to his performance. Conversely for those reasons the race might have flattened the winner and if that proves the case then My Nordic Hero might be well placed to take advantage.

Have Another Glass - She beat a potentially smart filly in Temple Of Bel and the in-form Lipstick Lover at 2000m two starts ago and then beat all bar Tatoosh back to 1550m last start. That looks terrific form for this but barrier one does look a concern with her racing pattern. With the right luck in running she can win without surprising.

Raw Impulse - He didn't have a lot of luck last start and might now be looking for this distance. His best form puts him among the better chances but he's starting to test the patience of even his most loyal fans.

Suggested bet: No bet

Race 9 Bidfood Travis Harrison Cup (1600m) - 1-13-4-10

Amovatio - The pattern on the day will be crucial to this horse's chances but he's been racing very well this preparation and is crying out for 1600m. Even if it has been an advantage to be nearer to the speed throughout the day if they overdo things up front then he could be the one charging home late and he was very unlucky in this race 12 months ago.

Tatoosh - Ignore the run two starts ago when he had cardiac arrhythmia. He was very good thrashing Stakes-winning mare Have Another Glass and he looks well placed on the minimum as a progressive galloper.

Akavoroun - He should be just about ready now fourth-up off a long break, having run well with the pattern against him last start. The inside gate might be ideal with the rail out four metres on Saturday.

Magic Consol - He wasn't in the best part of the track last start but ran well and also didn't have a lot of luck two starts ago. His past four starts at this track and distance have all been very good.

Suggested bet: Amovatio each way

Race 10 Epworth Medical Imaging Sprint - 5-12-2-6

Bel Sonic - Had his jockey stayed on the back of eventual winner Spirit Of Aquada rather than going back to the inferior inside section of the track on the turn, he'd have won last start. The wide draw means he's probably going to be last in the run again, which is the obvious concern, but that might be OK by the last race.

Usain Bowler - He proved the Racing.com Park failure was an aberration with a terrific run at Moonee Valley last start despite being eligible for much weaker races. Of the three horses in the finish he was the one closest to the inside, which wasn't the place to be on the day and it won't surprise if his inside barrier proves a real advantage with the rail out four metres compared to the wider draws of Spirit Of Aquada and Bel Sonic.

Despatch - I doubt that was the best of Despatch at Flemington last week. If he can reproduce his previous form then he's right among the better chances in this, particularly at 1200m which looks a much more suitable distance.

Spirit Of Aquada - He had the pattern in his favour and an ideal run last time but he's notably got the tactical versatility to go forward from a wide draw if that proves to be where you want to be on the day.

Suggested bet: No bet
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