Racing is again at Moonee Valley after being held last Friday on Australia Day.
There is a strong eight-race card scheduled with two two-year-old races leading up to the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield in the autumn.
Some of the youngsters are returning from spells while others are making their debuts. There are well-credentialed stock from the top juvenile stables and would suggest to watch the market closely for any betting moves. With so many debutantes and no trial form to use as a guide it is difficult to get a handle on the ability of some of the youngsters as they have no disclosed form.
Melbourne is getting a welcomed respite form the scorching temperatures of late and the day is forecast to be a mild 23C maximum after an overnight minimum of 13C. Some showers are expected but they may not be much. The false rail will be at the two-metre position and the track should be a Good 4.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 7,9 – 10 – 3,9 – 1,4
Wide Play: 3,7,9 – 2,8,10 – 1,4,8,9
BEST BET: R4 – 4. QUILISTA
Next Best Bet: R8– 4. MYSTIFIED
Best Roughie: R 5 – 3. EUREKA STREET
No4 SANCTIMONIOUS gets top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams to ride at return and with two runs under the belt for second at Sandown and a fifth at Randwick in December has the race experience to call upon here.
No3 JARMANAGIC was given a start down the straight 1000m at Flemington and ran on strongly to claim fourth on January 13. The colt has had three starts and finished close each time. He gets the corner to go round tonight and respect.
No2 IFYOUKNOWWHATIMEAN is a debutante from the leading stables of Team Hawkes and has top jockey Dwayne Dunn to ride. He is a son of leading sire Sebring and will wear winkers and a lugging bit at his debut. Well drawn in gate four.
No6 DRAMADALE is a filly by Real Saga who made a solid debut with a good third over 1100m at Sale on January 21. That was against her own age and sex and could have run in race two under the same conditions.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 IFYOUKNOWHATIMEAN
No1 ALL TOO HANDY was steady in the betting at $7.50 before finishing well to claim third over 1000m in a fillies' maiden at Ballarat on January 14. She gets Damian Lane to partner again and has drawn perfectly in gate two.
No8 PAPER PLANE is a daughter of leading sire Fastnet Rock and hails from the premier juvenile yard of Team Hayes. She has not trialled, but Damien Oliver is the pilot and vanquished with Team Hayes in earlier juvenile races.
No5 LADY BITHIAH has changed yards and showed she was primed to show for her new stable with a clever win in an 850m trial at Tatura on January 16. She cruised to a 4 length win that time and has been down the straight at Flemington. Respect.
No2 ANOTHER WHISPER is the stablemate to Paper Plane and she too has no exposed form to guide at her debut. She will wear a lugging bit and winkers at her debut, but has drawn wide in seven in a field of eight. Watch market.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 LADY BITHIAH
No6 CHERON WARRIOR gets Dwayne Dunn replacing a 2.5kg apprentice and was caught up in traffic when finishing ninth over 2500m at Pakenham on January 25. He drops 1.5kg to 56.5kg and is rock hard for this endurance test.
No1 CRAFTY CRUISER is a veteran stayer who has some claim on good form over 3000m at this track in this campaign. Last start was outgunned and finished seventh over 2500m at Flemington on January 20. Carries 56kg with the 2kg claim.
No4 EYES ARE BLUE blazed home to a 3.25 length winner over 2460m at Mornington on January 26. He carried 60kg that day and he drops to 55.5kg with the 1.5kg claim of apprentice Ben Thompson. Looks rock hard for this test.
No5 SHAMPION had a trial over 1500m at Cranbourne where she ran a solid fourth on January 29. She ran a plugging sixth over 3000m at Cranbourne on January 12 and won 3065m three starts ago at Warrnambool. Could lead.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 EYES ARE BLUE
No4 QUILISTA (BEST BET) is a stakes winner making her return to the track following her last-start seventh over 1400m in a Group 3 at Flemington on November 7. She gets Melbourne’s leading jockey Damian Lane to ride at her debut here. The Perth bred four-year-old mare is on 59kg but she appears to be a class above her opposition and she boasts a record fresh of two wins and a second at four starts.
No3 EL SICARIO with Zac Spain’s 2kg claim will carry 57kg and was a last-start 1000m winner at Sandown.
No5 VINNIE VEGA gets in with 57.5kg with the 1.5kg claim of Ben Thompson and has appeal.
No7 ANGRY GEE is on a short seven-day back up but the 3kg claim reduces impost to only 54.5kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 EL SICARIO
No9 PERSIAN EMPIRE won his maiden impressively at Sale three starts ago and has run two good races in the city since. Latest he ran a strong second over 1600m at Caulfield on January 17. He gets Craig Williams to ride and drops 3kg to 55kg.
No7 MARCHING ON posted successive wins over middle distances at Kyneton and Cranbourne before finishing a good second over 2100m at Sandown on January 3. Will carry only 54.5kg with Stephanie Thornton’s 3kg claim.
No1 ANCIENT HISTORY was threading his way through the field to finish a strong second over 1600m at Ballarat on January 14. Top jockey Dwayne Dunn is again booked to ride, but he does climb up the handicap – up 4kg to 60.5kg.
No3 EUREKA STREET showed good speed to lead but had no answer to the winner when a distant second over 2000m at Caulfield on January 17. Carried 59.5kg that day but will get a 1.5kg allowance with apprentice Ben Thompson as his new partner.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 EUREKA STREET
No10 WARRAGUL won his maiden at Wangaratta two starts ago. Last start ran a strong second over 1000m at Wagga on January 12. Has been given three weeks to fresh up for this and gets top jockey Craig Williams to ride on 56.5kg.
No8 NOTHING BUT A SAGA scored successive wins at Kyneton and Wangaratta before finishing sixth over 1200m against her own sex at Pakenham on January 25. She is on a short back up but with Chris Caserta’s 2kg claim carries 56kg.
No2 WRECKING BALL ran a steady fourth over 1000m at Cranbourne on January 19. He had won over 1000m at Hanging Rock at his prior start. With the 3kg claim will have his weight down to 58kg. Has been in form with two wins from past six starts.
No3 SIR MASK was outclassed when finishing 13th down the straight over 1100m at Flemington on January 13. Gets apprentice Stephanie Thornton’s 3kg claim to reduce his impost to a comfortable 57kg and has drawn well in gate two.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 SIR MASK
No9 THE AVENGER has won at Warwick Farm and Caulfield at his past six starts. Last start he was a big drifter from $5 to $9.50 before finishing seventh over 1400m at Flemington on January 20. He does rise 3kg to 58kg for the drop in class.
No3 FLORAL FEVER strung out the field to post a smart win over 1600m in the Camperdown Cup on January 20. He was heavily backed into the $3 favourite that day and with Chris Caserta’s 2kg claim will carry 57.5kg here.
No4 DOMINO VITALE had top jockey Craig Williams on board when she strode to a good win over 1600m at Ballarat on January 14. She goes up 2kg for the win to 59kg today but has a good draw in five and did work hard last start.
No1 CURRAGH was resuming from a long spell when ran a steady eighth over 1400m at Flemington on January 20. Will get ground with some give today after showers and is better suited on that surface. Worth noting.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 CURRAGH
No4 MYSTIFIED (NEXT BEST BET) was the target of a betting plunge when backed from $4.60 into $2.60 favourite, before driving home to finish a close third in a three-way photo over 1250m at Morphettville on January 20. Top Adelaide jockey Jamie Kah is coming across to ride the four-year-old mare and she is drawn perfectly in gate two. She also has won at this track.
No1 BRUGAL REWARD was engaged in the dueling finish with Mystified over 1250m when a close second in the Morphettville handicap on January 20. Victorian apprentice Ethan Brown’s claim reduces her weight to 58kg.
No9 ALASKAN SUN has yet to miss a placing at three city starts this campaign and Dwayne Dunn sticks.
No8 FOR A SONG won well at Caulfield last start and Zac Spain’s 2kg claim drop her weight to a mere 53.5kg
VALUE RUNNER: No8 FOR A SONG