Great night of racing at the Valley, which includes the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes
Last week saw the last of the Group 1 races at Flemington and now the focus swings to Sydney for its $20 million Championships. Tonight’s highlight at Moonee Valley is Australian Guineas star Palentino stepping up to 2040m in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes. There are showers forecast but the track rating is for a Good 4.
Race 5: 12, 6, 9
Race 6: 1, 2
Race 7: 6, 11, 2, 3
Race 8: 4, 3
Race 5: 12
Race 6: 1
Race 7: 6
Race 8: 4
R1: ADVANCED MAILING SOLUTIONS HANDICAP - 1000m
Pretty Possum showed she had guts when she went down by half a length over 955m here at her last start. The six-year-old is noted as a short-course professional with a handy record when fresh off two wins and two placings at eight starts. She has drawn wide (nine) but is with the three kilo allowance of Jake Bayliss and will carry 57.5kg.
Solar Duchess hails out of the Group 1 winning yard of Robbie Griffiths and charged home to post a smart win over this trip on February 26. That means she boasts a perfect record of one start for one win. The five-year-old mare should be at good e/w odds when she goes in search of her fifth win this season.
Sweet Emily has won two of her five starts when second up. She has also won three and been placed twice from her 11 starts at this track. She has the tactical speed to be right on the pace and drops in class from a benchmark 90 to 78. Apprentice Jordan Childs is the new rider and his 2kg claim will reduce her impost to 58.5kg. She should be at each-way odds in an open field.
SELECTIONS: No6 I’M A FLYING STAR, No1 Pretty Possum, No4 Solar Duchess, No2 Sweet Emily.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 Pretty Possum.
R2: IRISH AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HANDICAP - 1600m
Entre Nous was winding up with a strong finishing burst to narrowly miss the major prize over 1400m first up at Pakenham on February 25. He has a second up record of four starts for two wins and a second and is again warmly fancied in the markets at $5.50. Apprentice Jye McNeil’s 1.5 allowance reduces his impost to 58kg.
See What I Bring has been as consistent as clockwork when finishing inside the money at six of his past seven starts. The five-year-old gelding has Craig Williams on top for his return to Victorian racing and he is again fancied in betting at $5.50. He has a win and two thirds from his three starts over 1600m. He has drawn the centre in gate five.
Zlatan hails out of the yard of Robbie Laing. He finished second under 58kg in the Casey Cup (1600m) at Cranbourne at $12 on his last start on March 4. Bookmakers have him safe at $6 and senior rider Ibrahim Gundogdu keeps the mount.
SELECTIONS: No4 MONTEUX, No3 Entre Nous, No8 See What I Bring , No9 Zlatan.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 Zlatan.
R3: Spicer Thoroughbreds Valley Pearl - 1200m
Gloriette has been saddled with ace Melbourne rider Craig Williams to ride. The daughter of leading sire Lonhro has been widely travelled and notched two placings at her three starts at Flemington, Kembla Grange and Randwick. She will find this far milder than her last start when she finished seventh to Scarlet Rain in the Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m).
Lycurgus made an audacious debut when switched from the fence to three wide and ran home strongly to beat Northern Lass by one and a half lengths over 1100m at Bendigo in February. Trainer Danny O’Brien has kept the colt fresh for his city debut, with James Winks retaining the ride in the wet weights juvenile Listed race. Bookmakers have him at $11.
Tattoo You looked most professional to win his trial at Cranbourne on March 7. The son of Stryker controlled the field before kicking away to a two and a quarter length win over 800m. He is stretched to 1200m at his debut but he has the experienced hands of Black Caviar’s jockey Luke Nolen to see him through. Bookmakers have him safe at $6 despite having no race experience.
SELECTIONS: No6 ZAMZAM, No7 Gloriette, No1 Lycurgus, No5 Tattoo You.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 Gloriette.
R4: 1PRINT KERRY GILLESPIE HANDICAP - 2040m
Tucano won over this trip first up from a break last month. He is prepared by former jumps jockey Ciaron Maher who won last year’s VRC Oaks. He hit the lead at the 350m before being headed at the 200m but battled on well at his last start to hold fourth place over 2000m at Pakenham in March. The five-year-old stallion drops 32.5kg to 57kg and has the in-form Group 1 winning jockey Mark Zahra replacing a junior rider.
Kept Woman is ready to fire with two solid runs over 1600m against her own sex in the step up to 2040m. The daughter of leading New Zealand staying sire Savabeel boasts a record of two wins and three placings at seven starts over this trip. She will welcome the rise to her favourite distance and is capable of threatening the two leaders in betting.
Loving Home is another Northern hemisphere import that Sydney’s leading trainers have sourced for Australia. The five-year-old gelding won over 1900m at Canterbury in February before finishing fifth over 2400m at Randwick. He has proven tough and this is only his fourth run from a spell so there is room for further improvement.
SELECTIONS: No6 MASTER OF ARTS, No7 Tucano, No10 Kept Woman, No3 Loving Home.
VALUE RUNNER: Crime Fighter
R5: JEEP 55 SECOND CHALLENGE HEAT 15 - 955m
Kentucky Flyer was tossed into the deep end at the conclusion of his campaign last spring when he was unplaced in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Group 2 The Vase (2040m) at this course. Trainer Robbie Laing warmed up his three-year-old for his return with a trial over 800m at Cranbourne on February 22. He lunged late to just miss the major prize and has a good record fresh.
A Private Party comes into calculation despite his failure to perform at his three previous starts at this track. The five-year-old is chasing a hat-trick after recent wins over 1000m at Pakenham and Warrnambool. Bookmakers aren’t prepared to bank on his poor Valley record and place him at $8.
SELECTIONS: No12 VERY CHOOSY, No9 Kentucky Flyer, No6 A Private Party.
VALUE RUNNER: Military
R6: William Hill Alister Clark Stakes - 2040m
Tally races in the royal blue of Godolphin and has been in excellent form to mean he looms as the main danger. He is the only horse under double figure odds at $4 in his search for a fourth straight win this campaign. The son of Street Cry showed he was equal to the task by winning the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield at his last start.
Flying Light underlined his toughness when he won over 2040m here on February 23 and then backed up four days later to finish second to Tally in the Group 2 Autumn Classic at Caulfield. Punters had a crack, too, backing him from $9 into $7.50. He is at $12 here.
Top Ravine rates as one of the better chances of causing an upset. He hails from the stables of Mick Price, who won the Group 1 Victoria Derby and quinellaed the Blue Diamond Stakes this season. Top Ravine only won his maiden over 1717m at Sale three starts ago when first up so he is a newcomer to stakes racing.
SELECTIONS: No1 PALENTINO, No2 Tally, No3 Flying Light, No8 Top Ravine.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 Tally.
R7: Simpson Construction Abell Stakes - 1200m
Reldas has Mark Zahra on board after his game performance to finish one and a quarter lengths in fifth place behind Flamberge in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield in February. From nine starts here he has netted four wins and three placings. He looks close to another win and will be hard to hold out over 1200m where he has finished in the money at eight of his 10 starts.
Bring Me The Maid was a top juvenile who has been a shade disappointing at the higher level. She has a record of two wins and two placings at her four first up starts and could go well when fresh after having her last start in November in Group 3 company. Stable jockey Luke Nolen replaces Glen Boss. She is at good odds at $14.
Exclusive Lass scored two wins over 1200m at Geelong and Moonee Valley last spring. She gave an excellent performance down the straight 1100m at Flemington last start on March 5. The four-year-old mare led right into the shadows but was nailed by New Zealander Miss Seton Sands on the line. She has a perfect record here of one start for one win and would expect improvement.
SELECTIONS: No6 MISS SETON SANDS, No2 Reldas, No3 Bring Me The Maid , No11 Exclusive Lass.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 Bring Me The Maid.
R8: TBV NEWMARKET GRANDWEST HANDICAP - 1200m
Telopea rates as the biggest danger. The daughter of Pivotal has yet to taste defeat at her four Australian starts but she is first up off a 342-day break and that suggests she may have had an injury. Weir has booked the 2kg claiming apprentice Jordan Childs to reduce her impost to 57.5kg.
Cana is one of only two fillies in this race. She drops in class from her last start at Caulfield on February 27. She ran third in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at her previous start on February 13 and rates as a danger when carrying 55kg.
A Lotta Love is burdened with a lot of weight when given 60kg. Trainer Sam Pritchard-Gordon has not been tempted to book an apprentice to reduce her impost but stuck to Mark Zahra. She led before being held together when finishing third over 800m at her recent warm-up trial at Cranbourne and has a good draw in four.
SELECTIONS: No4 FRENCH EMOTION, No3 Telopea, No10 Cana, No2 A Lotta Love.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 Telopea.