Manikato Stakes Night at The Valley and what a cracking eight-race card we have. Our best bet is an ultra consistent mare who likes racing at Moonee Valley and with an even share of luck will be fighting out the finish .
Moonee Valley is racing on a Good 4 with the rail in the true position.
Giving FINAL CHOICE a chance here as she aims for a hat-trick of wins. The filly has returned to racing in fine style this time in, winning both starts since resuming. Comes into this after racing on the speed down the Flemington straight and proving too strong for Bleu Roche and Just Remember This on September 26. The Hayes, Hayes & Daberning stable is flying and although she is drawn awkwardly from barrier 10, jockey Luke Nolen should be pushing on to hopefully find a good spot in the run. Worth a ticket.
1st: No6 FINAL CHOICE 2nd: *SCRATCHED* No1 Charge; 3rd: No2 Heart Conquered; 4th: No11 Propelle
LOPARTEGA (BEST BET) is worth a shot here. This mare is honest as the day is long and with four runs back from a spell, should be rock hard fit for this. Looked to have pinched the Pinker Pinker Plate when travelling behind the leader then blocked for a run, before jockey Steph Thornton stuck to the rails and hit the front only to be swamped by Our Libretto. She would’ve won had she got out sooner. Loves Moonee Valley and has a perfect record of finishing in the placings at all four runs here.
1st: No3 LOPARTEGA 2nd: No2 Pleasuring; 3rd No7 Qafila; 4th: No1 Nettoyer
We are banking on WIDGEE TURF (NEXT BEST BET) to break a frustrating run of placings. The Patrick Payne-trained runner has been placed at his past three starts with the latest of those being in Listed company at Morphettville behind Theanswermyfriend. On that occasion, he rattled home from near last to just miss out in a stirring finish, with the third placegetter Waging War then finishing sixth to Land Of Plenty in the Toorak. This gelding also loves The Valley with three wins and a second from five starts here.
1st: No1 WIDGEE TURF 2nd: No3 Iconoclasm; 3rd: No4 Duke Of Brunswick; 4th: No5 Amadeus
ODEON could be worth the gamble in this. Has drawn five and Damien Thornton is likely to push forward and find a spot on the speed which is his usual racing pattern. Put in a cracker two starts back when third to boom galloper Night’s Watch in The Naturalism before finishing fifth to Yucatan in the Herbert Power. Feel the 2400m of last start was a bit much and that the five-year-old is far better suited to today’s distance. Hard to toss.
1st: No2 ODEON 2nd: No4 Waging War; 3rd: No6 The Lord Mayor; 4th: No11 Noumea
The James Cummings stable is firing so it’s hard not to go past ESPERANCE in this. The son of Bernadini has been brilliant winning his past two starts in Sydney, the latest of those over Revenire at Randwick over the 1000m. Has to lump 60kgs and from barrier 12 is likely to be back in the field, but gets Hugh Bowman aboard. First look at Moonee Valley but is our on top pick in a difficult race.
1st: No2 ESPERANCE 2nd: No9 Written Choice; 3rd: No6 Prezado, 4th: No4 Hay Bale
Going with another Godolphin runner, this time in *SCRATCHED* ISAURIAN. Won first-up at Sandown beating Invincible Al at the end of August before coming to The Valley a month later and leading most of the way before Moonlover nailed him on the line. The winner sat outside him and that form has been franked with Moonlover winning in Listed company on the Geelong Cup card. Likely to near the front again from gate six and is the one to catch.
1st: *SCRATCHED* No14 ISAURIAN 2nd: No9 Rock ‘N’ Gold; 3rd: No2 Stellar Collision; 4th: No5 Keen Array
Brilliant race and worthy of being a Group One. We are with US NAVY FLAG who has been heavily supported throughout the week across a number of bookies. The Aidan O’Brien galloper was a victim of the Heavy track in The Everest and gets a Good surface here. Was one of the best backed runners in The Everest in pre-post betting so it could pay to follow the money. Drawn two and should be in the top four or five turning for home. The raps are big on this bloke and we could see another international raider winning a Group One during the spring.
1st: No8 US NAVY FLAG 2nd: No14 Sunlight; 3rd: No2 Kementari; 4th: No10 Houtzen
We have found one at value in the final event on the card – KING’S COMMAND. The gelding has sensational form and is coming into this race third-up so should be nearing peak fitness. Ran fourth to Princess Of Queens at Morphettville back in early September while he ended up in the same position against Moonlover last start at this track. Both horses that have won those race have since won at the Geelong Cup program. The form around him is hot. Eachway all day!
1st: No1 KING’S COMMAND 2nd: No5 Tamasa; 3rd: No11 Black Sail; 4th: No7 Shokora