Friday night's Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley has attracted a small field of five, with most judges expecting the nation's top sprinter Lankan Rupee to bounce-back and take the spoils in the $450,000 weight-for-age classic.
Favourite with TAB.com.au at $1.45, the Mick Price-trained son of Redoute's Choice was pipped by Moir rival Angelic Light first-up at the Valley in the McEwen (1000m) after drawing wide, but jockey Craig Newitt should be able to lead more comfortably from gate 2 this time around. Lankan Rupee won the Oakleigh Plate second-up last time in after a tough run and should be too quick again in the Moir.
I would expect 2012 Moir winner and last year's runner-up Buffering ($6) to sit outside Lankan Rupee in the run but I don't expect the 7 year old Queensland champ to match it with the favourite when he quickens in the straight. Buffering, who looked sharp in a recent jump-out in Brisbane, also boasts a tremendous record at Moonee Valley and is 9: 6-1-1 first-up but I'm willing to risk him, even if Damien Browne decides to take a sit behind Lankan Rupee. He'll win later in his campaign.
Angelic Light ($7.50) beat Lankan Rupee in the McEwen after a terrific 3rd when first-up at the Valley in the Carlyon (1000m). He has never missed a place there (5:3-2) and will again run well if Ryan Maloney can slot her in from the outside barrier (5). My quinella runner again with the top-elect.
Check the full TAB.com.au market for the Group 1 Moir Stakes here.
Rebel Dane ($8.50) proved expensive to punters last campaign, placing only once from 4 starts, before resuming with a 3rd to Sweet Idea at Randwick in the Group 2 WFA Missile Stakes. Will get a cosy run in transit and be hoping for super-fast early sectionals. Having the services of Craig Williams is significant in my opinion but the Gary Portelli-prepared stallion must be taken on trust.
The remaining runner, Unpretentious ($23) is another who'll be suited if the leader's go 'mad' early. The Nikki Burke-trained 6 year old ran solid late sectionals in the McEwen and did finish 3rd in the Group 1 William Reid here behind Spirit Of Boom in the autumn. Damien Oliver is on-board.
It's a disappointing field in quantity but definitely not in quality. Unload on the Rupee and bet-up on the mighty, fighting Hawks in the AFL Grand Final!
The Group 1 Moir Stakes is set to jump at 8:15pm (AEST). Make sure you tune in to Sky Racing to catch all the action!
G3 - The Coral.co.uk Winter Derby (class 1)
G2 - The Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle Race (class 1)
G2 - The Betbright Pendil Novices' Steeple Chase (class 1)
G2 - The Betbright Adonis Juvenile Hurdle Race (class 1)
G3 - The Betbright Steeple Chase (handicap) (class 1)