As much as I dislike night racing (mostly because it is awful for taking photos), I’m really tempted to go to Moonee Valley’s first night meeting this Friday, where the feature race is the Group 1 Moir Stakes, a sprint over 1200 metres. Unlike last year, the feature race is scheduled at the reasonably early hour of 8.15pm rather than as the last on the card at 10.00pm as was the case then, where the bulk of patrons departed before the race was run. Wise move MVRC!
As well as the feature race, there is a top class support card with two Group 2 and Group 3 races on the program.
Commanding Jewel and Dear Demi meet again in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600 metres), so if I do attend the meeting, I’ll have to get there early enough to witness it. These two are the top contenders, meeting last in the Let’s Elope Stakes, where Commanding Jewel prevailed narrowly over Dear Demi. Of the other five in the field, Solicit appears as the next best chance. Last year Commanding Jewel’s big sister Atlantic Jewel won the Stock Stakes, so it would be nice if Commanding Jewel could keep it in the family.
The Moir Stakes is the fourth race on the program. A small field of five acceptors will compete for the prize money, chief among them Lankan Rupee who will be out to redeem his reputation after his shock defeat to Angelic Light in the McEwen Stakes in early September at this course. Angelic Light is one of the five contestants along with Buffering and Rebel Dane. I’ll be cheering for the horse with a heart.
Hot on the heels of the feature race is the Group 3 Champagne Stakes, a race for three year old fillies over 1200 metres. It has a doozie of a field as well with Eloping and Tawteen being the main chances. Eloping finished third in the McEwen Stakes after battling out that race with Lankan Rupee and probably contributed to his defeat. Tawteen is on a winning roll, her last victory being at Moonee Valley on Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day, where she won by over 3 lengths.
The Cleaner makes a welcome return in the Group 3 JRA Cup which is run over the Cox Plate distance of 2040 metres. No doubt he’ll take up the running as is his style ala Vo Rogue. Can any of the rest of the field run him down in the short straight? It’s a big field of 13 contestants, mostly stayers. Old Precedence has a good record at Moonee Valley and could mount a challenge. Others with a chance are Big Memory who finished second to Brambles at Flemington recently, Mourinho who ran second to The Cleaner in the Dato Tan and won this race last year, and Signoff who has been recently placed in weaker races and has won at the track in the past.
The seventh race is the Group 2 Stutt Stakes for three year olds run over 1600 metres. It is seen as a match race between local hero Chivalry and Sydney colt Almalad, both of whom were beaten at their last starts and will be out to prove themselves. Also in the picture are Zebulon, Kumaon and Caveka.
There is no major race meeting in Melbourne on Saturday with the AFL Grand Final dominating the sporting arena locally, however in Sydney racing is as normal with two interesting Group races.
The first of these is the Stan Fox Stakes, a race for three year olds over 1500 metres. Top chances are Scissor Kick who narrowly lost the Golden Rose to Hallowed Crown and Shooting To Win who ran third in that race.
Catkins continues her Spring campaign in the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400 metres) against her own sex. No doubt she’ll start as hot favourite and could well prevail. Her main opponents appear to be Arabian Gold and My Sabeel.
A second Group 1 race will be run at Caulfield on Sunday, that being the Sir Rupert Clark Stakes, run over 1400 metres. Dissident will be aiming for his third win in succession and could well do so, even if he is racing back in distance. He faces Sweet Idea again who was runner-up in the Memsie Stakes. Others with claims are Atlante, Cluster, Late Charge and Trust In A Gust who all won their last starts.
Also on the program on Sunday are two Group 2 Guineas Preludes, one for fillies and the other for colts and geldings, which have both attracted really good fields that I don’t feel like analysing here.
Finally on a breeding note…
There was news today about the pure white mare The Opera House, who is a three quarter sister to Might And Power, who had a short but not very successful racing career a couple of years ago. She was retired to the breeding barn after an injury and has had several foals since. However, her latest foal by High Chaparral is a duplicate of herself – a rare, pure white filly. Read the story (with photo) here.