Mel­bour ne Pre­view

The Sportsman Weekend - - Detailed Formguide For Moonee Valley - with Greg Splet­ter

Race 1

The track’s a soft-6 but I’m hop - ing it will be up­graded by Satur­day to a good-4. In any event it will be around the 4-5 mark, and ei­ther way LORESHO rep­re­sents value at $8.00. He’s a French im­port who’s had four runs back for Dar­ren Weir off a two -year break , the lat­est a clos­ing fourth to Aloft over 2000m at Flem­ing­ton. He got onto heels bit near­ing the bend and was held up for a stride, but he came to the end of his run a fur­long out the length mar­gin with Aloft line. He’s Group Three win­ner in France over this trip and one would ex­pect some more im­prove­ment him to­mor­row. YOGI is priced on po­ten­tial at $2.90 and no value, but he is the one on the up and is ca­pa­ble of fig­ur­ing. He has won three his last four, two of them in aw­fully weak com­pany be­fore a bet­ter suc­cess time at Flem­ing­ton un­der 58.5kg. Drops 4.5kg here which will be needed, but he is cer­tainly one who doesn’t mind where the track rat­ing ends up on the day. MAS­TER ZEPHYR beat a rea­son­able field last start over this trip af­ter a cou­ple of en­cour­ag­ing per­for­mances be­hind Pa­co­dali the shorter trip. He is con­sis­tent enough, but with only six wins from 37 starts he looks a bit skinny at $3.50 to go back to back .

Race 2

There’s no doubt­ing this race will be fought out by the fresh run­ners, and MERRIEST comes into it off the back of a big trial win at Cran­bourne ear­lier in the month. She does go well fresh, and has been a very con­sis­tent per­former, ei­ther in stakes grade or against stakes - qual­ity fil­lies (Snitty Kitty, etc). She won the At­lantic Jewel here at Listed level this time last year and fol­lowed with a nar­row de­feat over the same track and dis­tance at G3 level. Sits back off the fence from wide draw but will hit line hard. About right at $4.60. HEAR THE CHANT blot­ted her copy­book with two dis­ap­point­ing ef­forts at the end of last cam­paign, though she did kick off well that prep with a close - up run here in the Ty­phoon Tracy. Jumps out with same weight as Merriest and has drawn much bet- ter. There’s value in the $9.00 and she’s worth a small saver. SWORD OF LIGHT will go bet­ter over longer, but she has never missed a place first-up and showed with gutsy run be­hind Mis­s­rock when re­sum­ing last cam­paign that she is well up to this level fresh. She’ll need to go for­ward from gate 10 which makes the draw more prob­lem­atic for her than my top two. En­hanced pros - pects if the track is wet.

Race 3

I was a huge fan of LIME­STONE when she was last in work and while I’m not the first-up 1200m sce­nario for these young sprint­ers, the other chances are all in the same boat and this one has a touch of class about her. Ac­counted for Tulip with a huge run on Aus­tralia Day this year in blue Di­a­mond Pre­view, then had to change course a cou­ple of times be­fore get­ting out in the Pre­lude only be nabbed by Blue Di­a­mond win­ner Catchy on the line. There doesn’t seem an enor­mous amount of speed here out­side of Madeenaty (and not even her if she opts for the San Domenico) and it’s pos­si­ble Lime­stone could slide for­ward and sit on her shoul­der in run­ning. She is top shelf and looks great value at $4.00. TULIP is likely to be giv­ing the speed a big start on straight­en­ing but she will be catch­ing eye late. Swamped by Lime­stone at their only clash back in Jan­uary but this one did kick on, win­ning the Magic Night and plac­ing Golden Slip­per on very wet tracks. A lack of high speed here is an is­sue for me, as is the $3.10 quote. ROOMOOZ wasn’t all that far from Catchy in the P re­lude last prep but didn’t mea­sure up in the main event a fort­night later. Beau­ti­fully bred filly who should get a nice run in the pack and can be strong late.

Race 4

Not overly ex­cited about this $60k race but it’s rea­son­able to ex­pect some im­prove­ment out of SIN TO WIN and with the drop in grade he is as good as any. Closed late be - hind mil­lion to one pop No­zomi at Flem­ing­ton, and he did win two in a row in weaker grade over a mile across the ditch be­fore trans­fer­ring to Hayes/Dabernig team. Not en­thused at $2.70 but is the one to beat. SPUNLAGO and JAMINZAH went across the line to­gether in a sim­i­lar race at Flem­ing­ton three weeks ago over this trip but the for­mer meets the lat­ter 5.5kg bet­ter for the nar­row de­feat. Spunlago has def­i­nitely lifted for the new sta­ble and gets the nod at $5.50. Jaminzah has since beaten a stronger field at Flem­ing­ton and lines up here for his hat-trick , though he did that with 54kg and rises 6kg to­mor­row back to this eas­ier as­sign­ment. Not a fan of the race at all but these three prob­a­bly have it be­tween them.

Race 5

This is a tough race to ap­proach as we don’t know how good the Rob - ert Hick­mott pair are go­ing. Luck­ily I have one that is fly­ing to hang my hat on and while the other pair might lap him later on, PA­CO­DALI is the fit horse lin­ing up for a hat­trick here. Sat up on the speed at his last two at Flem­ing­ton and was too strong in the run home for a bunch of con­sis­tent, open-to -Listed level stay­ers. Looks as though he’ll get the soft­est of leads and with only 54.5kg on his back should be very strong when they rev up be­fore the bend. Happy with the $3.70, and al­though I can’t see him trou­bling

big Cup hopes in a month or so he might be able to snag one more be­fore they catch up to him. ALMANDIN’s form isn’t too bad, hav­ing won the Mel­bourne Cup at his sixth run back off a two -year spell and that fol­lowed ef­fort­less victo - ries in the Harry White and Bart Cum­mings. Who knows where he is for a 2000m fresh run, but giv­ing Pa­co­dali 7.5kg I’ll back him out for this run. Def­i­nitely all eyes will be on his per­for­mance though as he is

the third line for this year’s Cup. HANS HOLBEIN showed glimpses of his real tal­ent last cam­paign win­ning two of his three in em­phatic style, but he does strike me as one who will need the hitout. Half a chance to be meet­ing sta­ble - mate in a big race later on in the spring and this form­line could hold up all the way to Novem­ber.

Race 6

This l ooks much weaker to me than the fil­lies’ divi­sion and with a strong run un­der his belt I’m stick­ing with AZAZEL to push his form out to 1200m. He wasn’t far from the smart colts at his first two preps, and he looked strong late when re­sum­ing down the mid­dle of the track at Flem­ing­ton. He has op­tions to­mor­row with a lot more speed en­gaged here than the fil­lies edi­tion and I can see him fin­ish­ing off in a sim­i­lar man­ner to his BD Pre­view run be­hind Prop­erty. Nice each way pop at $5.50. FRANKEL MY DEAR is a very in­ter­est­ing run­ner by Frankel who went pretty well at his de­but run be­hind Azazel. Ground away over the last 200m or so to make up a cou­ple of lengths on the win­ner and it’s fair to as­sume he will ap­pre­ci­ate the step up to 1200m. Looks un­fairly treated at $18 and could sur­prise. LONE EAGLE made ground on de­but over 1200m to beat all but the tal­ented Cliff ’s Edge at Lake­side and did score a nice win over same trip at Caulfield last run be­fore a break. Drawn awk­wardly here but will be saved for a late at them from the back.

Race 7

Af­ter a se­quence of tricky con­tests we can rest easy here with HEATHERLY who is all but over the line for mine. At her last run on StrathAyr she beat all Ex­treme Choice in the Moir Stakes fin­ish­ing ahead of sprint­ers like Chau­tauqua. Close third in the Oak­leigh Plate the cam­paign prior, and two runs ago belted them Bob Hoysted over this trip giv­ing the field a ton of weight as mare. Drawn per­fectly and against this line -up is en­ti­tled to start $1.75, so the $2.30 is a gift. SPEEDEOR is an in­ter­est­ing stal­lion on the up who won all three starts last prep over the short course. Sits off speed here and while there’s is a small ques­tion mark about his abil­ity to match it with these, we get free look at him for fu­ture ref­er­ence as our money will be on the win­ner. MIS­S­ROCK has an ex­cel­lent fresh record and raced su­perbly at her last two runs in Adelaide be­fore a spell. Beat all but Vega Magic in the Good­wood and will more than pay her way this cam­paign.

Race 8

DUKE OF BRUNSWICK is one of those horses you have to fol­low just about ev­ery run make sure you catch him. He has won just one of his last nine starts but af­ter out­stand­ing back to back ef­forts in stakes com­pany this time in this is surely his race? Beat all but Abil­ity first-up, then placed be­hind that horse and Lankan Ru­pee in the Bletch­ingly. He does lift here, and with a half un­der the limit will be fin­ish­ing strongly. Fair price at $3.60, looks moral as a place bet if noth­ing else. HAR­LOW GOLD had an out­stand­ing 3yo au­tumn cam­paign with­out tast­ing suc­cess and should run a good race fresh here. Ran on be­hind Kenedna in The Van­ity at Flem­ing­ton first-up last prepa­ra­tion and is mul­ti­ple Group One -placed, al­beit over longer trips. She can beat these fresh and $12 is a must for your quad­die on the score of value. RAW IM­PULSE won first-up over this trip here two cam­paigns ago, but that was 18 months in the past and he hasn’t raced for nearly a year. Loaded with tal­ent, but at $4.60 I’d be look­ing else­where un­til we see how he is trav­el­ling af­ter a lengthy spell.

Race 9

Not im­pressed with the price, but OAK DOOR will give this a shake first-up. Hasn’t raced since run­ning a shocker in the Queens­land Guineas but he did re­sume with a nice run in the Straight Six at Flem­ing­ton over 1200m the run prior. Likes to lead 1400m but may find it tough to­mor­row if they burn hard early and form gate 11 Ben Thomp - son will want to find a spot to slot in. His best hope is that this is not overly strong and al­though the $3.50 is not great value, he de­serves the top line of bet­ting. ROCKET TOMMY is a ques­tion mark at the trip but at least we can put a line through his first-up run where he didn’t pull up well. Chalked up hat-trick over shorter trips when last in work and should im­prove to­mor­row. HAY BALE has drawn poorly but his form around this grade has been good. He’ll push for­ward at the jump and might give my bloke some­thing to sit be­hind but has abil­ity kick on in the straight.

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