Racing heads to Moonee Valley for a mammoth weekend of racing with the running of the time-honoured Cox Plate on Saturday.
Tonight’s card will be highlighted by outstanding sprinter Vega Magic’s return to Victoria following his perilous second to Redzel in the $10million The Everest at Randwick.
The prize money is not so rich but the former West Australian sprinter appears poised to make up for his luckless second at his first time in the clockwise direction at Randwick by claiming another Group 1.
A strong field is assembled with Everest runners including Chautauqua and English.
A good night’s racing of eight events.
The rail will be at its True Position and the track is rated a Soft 5 (Wednesday) and there is a good chance for improvement. Enjoy the kick off to a fabulous day of racing on Saturday at The Valley.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 1,8 – 2,6 – 1 – 1,12
Wide Play: 1,3,6,8,12 – 2,4,5,6 – 1,2 – 1,2,3,12
BEST BET: R7 – 2. VEGA MAGIC
Next Best Bet: R8 – 2. BASSETT
Best Roughie: R5 – 1. PLATEAU GOLD
No5 DODGING BULLETS looks to have the hoof on the till and strikes a moderate field of stayers here. Was well fancied when finishing a sound second to Odeon over 1700m at Caulfield on October 18. He drops 5kg to 55kg here and top jockey Craig Williams is sticking to him. Good chance.
No2 EXTRA ZERO is a veteran campaigner who can go better here after he bungled the start last time out when finishing 11th over 1700m at Flemington on September 16. Caulfield Cup winning jockey Corey Parish rides for Team Hayes and he should be a force in this small field.
No4 LORD DURANTE ran a close second over this trip two starts ago on September 9. He was outclassed in the JRA Cup (2040m) when running a sound seventh to New Zealand stayer Jon Snow here on September 19. He is a genuine front-runner who will make good play at the helm.
No1 GUARDINI is an Irish stallion who lost his plate and had a helluva run before finishing last to International Folkswood in the Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 15. Mark Zahra is the new rider and he again carries a decent weight on top-weight on 60kg. Bears each-way thought in milder field.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 GUARDINI
No6 CARRAIG AONAIR gave a strong performance to run a fighting second over 1630m at Flemington on September 27. He gets a change of rider with Craig Williams to steer here. Williams won on the 4yo gelding three starts ago carrying 60kg and he drops to 55kg here. Looks a strong chance.
No4 RIB EYE gave a blazing front running performance to score a comfortable win over 1600m at Moe on October 19. He carried 56.5kg that day and he drops to 55kg here for his return to the city. Noel Callow rides from gate four and should be prominent again.
No7 LAUGHING HEIR won over 1540m at Geelong two starts ago. He ran a strong third to Rib Eye over 1600m at Moe on October 19. He gets a change of rider with Damian Lane off and Daniel Stackhouse the new rider. He drops 1.5kg to 55kg here and gets his chance to extract revenge.
No8 ROCK OF MAHAL edged away to a 1.75 length winner over 1400m at Cranbourne on October 14. He carried 60kg that day and drops to 55kg here. Not as well drawn in gate nine but Michael Walker retains the ride. He is sure to be fancied at around $6 and his recent efforts are tops.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 ROCK OF MAHAL
No8 IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS is having his second start for his new trainer Darren Weir. Showed plenty of true grit to go down narrowly to Steel Frost over 1400m at Caulfield on October 1. He has a rock solid second-up record and looks set to enhance that here with Craig Williams the new pillion.
No5 FOX HALL form has been first class and head here from a smart win over 1400m at Cranbourne on October 15. Won the last of 10 races that day and was well-liked at $4.80. Will be well in the market again here and with the in-form Luke Currie to ride makes great appeal again.
No7 GIVE US A GO has had a gear change with a bit lifter going on following her disappointing 13th in the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 7. That was her third start back from a spell and the form was out of character to her prior two efforts. Suggest to forgive here.
No6 BONDEIGER this stallion is resuming from a 41-week spell, but he is trained by the master Darren Weir. He has a sound record from and is cap[able of bobbing up at double figure odds. He trialled nicely with a win over 1450m at Tatura on October 17 and gets ace rider Mark Zahra to guide.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 BONDEIGER
No5 SMART COUPE comes here with a clean sheet after claiming two wins at her two starts. She won impressively over 1200m against her own age and sex at Sandown at her final start on July 5. That was winter form but she could not have been more explicit and top jockey Linda Meech rides again.
No1 MADEENATY is former top juvenile when was pelting home when running second over 955m here on September 29. She is paying the price at the top of the handicap on 60kg for her early success. She jumps up 5kg here but will have the highly experienced Mark Zahra to guide.
No6 NATURE STRIP had to dig deep to post a narrow win over 1000m in a 3yo maiden at Mornington on October 1. She was well-fancied at $1.80 that time and would expect her to be improved on her debut performance. Ryan Maloney replaces a 3kg claiming apprentice and would respect.
No3 TABBING is an Adelaide-trained sprinter on a sorte. Gets top jockey Damien Oliver to ride following his sound third to Easy Beast over 1100m at Morphettville on October 14. He drops a half-kilo to 56.5kg and has an ideal draw in gate one to obtain a soft passage. Worth thought.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 TABBING
No3 LADY ESPRIT faces an open affair but she is a track specialist with two wins, two seconds and a third at this course. She returns here from a three-week break after running seventh in a Listed 1100m event at Morphettville on 30. That was a smart field that day with Cool Passion the winner.
No12 REBEL MISS is a Sydney short-course specialist making her debut here. She gets top Victorian jockey Damien Oliver to ride and chased hard when running a close sixth over 1000m at Randwick on October 14. That was first-up from a spell and she has an excellent record second-up.
No11 ESSENCE OF TERROR won against her own sex over 1000m here on June 17 before being sent out for a spell. She has a rock solid first-up record of a win and a second at four starts. Chris Symons keeps the ride but she has drawn wide in 14 and may need an ounce of luck.
No1 PLATEAU GOLD (BEST ROUGHIE) gets ace jockey Dwayne Dunn replacing a 3kg apprentice. Latest fought strongly at long odds to run a close third over 955m here on October 6. That was a mighty effort at his debut at this track and his prior country form was sound.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 PLATEAU GOLD
No4 FALIKA showed a ton of courage to recover after knuckling down at the start and to win the Pinker Pinker (2080m) at her home track at Cranbourne on October 13. Was a very clever ride by Damien Oliver to revive her chances and he again rides tonight. She goes up 1.5kg to 56.5kg.
No6 SMART AS YOU THINK had little luck when trapped three deep before finishing second to Falika in the Pinker Pinker (2080m) at Cranbourne on October 13. Daniel Stackhouse keeps the ride and she remains on the same weight on 55kg here. Drawn fairly in eight to extract revenge.
No5 SEBRING DREAM Damien Oliver rode her to a smart win over 1600m here on October 16. Oliver will ride Pinker Pinker winner Falika tonight instead and this mare gets the experienced Luke Nolen to steer from a good alley in four. Team Hayes is on fire winning the Caulfield Cup last Saturday.
No10 HISTORY REPEATS is a Sydney mare who fought hard along the rail to finish third to Falika in the Pinker Pinker (2080m) at Cranbourne on October 13. That was her first time in the anti-clockwise direction and she is sure to have benefitted from the experience.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 HISTORY REPEATS
No2 VEGA MAGIC (BEST BET) can make a strong argument that this horse should have won the $10million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14. He was right off the track coming around the home bend and swooped home like a hawk to run a close second to Redzel. Craig Williams keeps the ride and can make amends by winning this Group 1. Though for far less prize money.
No1 CHAUTAUQUA is the grand master of sprinters and finished from a long way back with his usual flurry to run fourth to Redzel in The Everest. Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn is back on board.
No9 IN HER TIME comes here with two fighting wins at stakes level in Sydney. Must respect.
No8 ENGLISH had no luck in The Everest and can rebound here on this track.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 ENGLISH
No2 BASSETT (NEXT BEST BET) ran a strong fourth to Rich Charm in a listed 1200m race at Caulfield on October 18. That was his second start back from a spell and signaled he was close to reaching his top form. He has a great third-up record of a win, a second and a third at four starts. He has drawn the rail and gets ace apprentice Beau Mertens to ride.
No3 MISS GUNPOWDER ran a close third to Cool Passion against her own sex at Group 3 level last start.
No12 SUSPENSE made a big impression at her debut at this track last time out.
No1 HELLOVA STREET has speed to burn and a sound second-up record.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 SUSPENSE