Pippie should find the front from barrier 8- she’s too quick away to be crossed early. Indian Pacific is no slouch and should land OSL. Hey Doc gets a lovely trail; Masked Crusader finds a tricky spot on the fence. The girls Brooklyn Hustle, Libertini and September Run head back to the tail.
1. Hey Doc
One of my favourite horses going around the old boy Hey Doc, who is a two time group 1 winner at this T/D, including last year’s Manikato (where we found him at double figures). He came into that 3rd up off two good platform runs, but he was disappointing first up, even with 63kg and over 1000m. He’s got a great 2nd up record and maps beautifully, but that run has just put me off a bit and perhaps he isn’t going as well. He’s the best performed horse in the race but I can’t back him at single figures off the first up run.
He’s actually coming off a win Special K, beating Celebrity Queen in WA over 1400m. The trials have been very nice, but he was well beaten by a few of these in the Manikato. He’s clearly talented enough but it’s more a case of surely Kementari doesn’t win this first up. Playing around him but he’s not hopeless.
3. Elite Street
Nothing has gone right for him in Melbourne, pulling up with EIPH after the Lightning and again racing well below his best in the Newmarket. He gets in better at WFA but I think he might need to head home and have another crack, because he’s near impossible to back off what he’s done this prep. The map is a bit sticky too from barrier 3.
4. Indian Pacific
Easily the best value in the race in my opinion. I can’t work out why he’s $26 coming off a very brave 2nd in the Newmarket where he led them at a good speed and just got run down by a very good straight track horse. He beat a few of these quite easily and although he jumps 4.5kg in weight under WFA, I think he maps to sit just off Pippie and apply the pressure mid race, with that mare a bit suspect at 1200m. He can sustain a very strong gallop and could control the speed and kick away on the bend to get these backmarkers out of their comfort zone. Good bet at the price.
6. Masked Crusader
Clearly come back very well with a huge last 200m first up to win running away and he backed it up with a good run in the Canterbury when running on hard for 3rd behind Savatiano. I think a fast run race is really going to suit this horse and he will find that race shape here. The query is the map- barrier 2 is very sticky and I think he ends up 3 back the fence and needing luck. It’s a similar ride for Pike as Dirty Work in the Manikato last year- which he did perfectly, and with luck he’s a big winning chance to deliver on the group 1 potential.
Had some excuses in both runs this prep after pulling up slowly first up and getting tight for room in the Newmarket, but I just don’t think she’s good enough at this level. She’s got 3.5L to make up on Indian Pacific and I’m happy enough to be against her.
On form she’s clearly the horse to beat. She’s a very good sprinter, especially when fresh and when she gets a dry track. Her win in the Premiere first up last prep in a fast run race was enormous, putting 2L on Classique Legend and 4L on Nature Strip. She did get the perfect run there compared to her rivals but most of the horses in this field can’t even get close to that level. The stable are quite bullish she’s going better than ever, and Tommy Berry wouldn’t come down to Melbourne the night before Golden Slipper day for no reason. He must think she’s ging to be very hard to beat, and I agree. She’ll have to get further back than ideal from the wide barrier, but if she’s within 6L at the 400m I think she could go past them. Into her right price now but she goes on top.
Very good fresh mare and she comes into this off 5 weeks. She races very well at The Valley, but I think 1200m really stretches her, as evidenced by her 6L defeat in the Manikato. If she was first up I’d give a bit more consideration to her but Lane jumps off which is a solid lead to her chances and even though she’ll find the front and rail, she’ll have Indian Pacific for company and I think she’ll be running on empty the last 100m.
11. Brooklyn Hustle
Been desperately unlucky in both the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket when badly held up both times, although she was beaten 3L last start. She just seems to find bad luck wherever she goes and although I think she’s come back very well, she was beaten fair and square in the Manikato and Moir at this track last year. She can win if she performs at her best and gets luck, but at the end of the day she’s still stuck on two wins which came on debut and in a bm78 mare’s race. The price is probably about right at $11 but I’m not jumping on now.
12. Portland Sky
He’s flying the 3yo, coming off back to back wins including a dead heat in the Oakleigh Plate last start with 50kg. That was a very brave effort given he was on speed and kept kicking when Anders and Ancestry dropped out late. He’s far less suited at the weights here with 56kg under WFA but it’s hard to knock a horse going so well. He should land on the leader’s back from barrier 1 and given how fast they should go he should be able to get clear air. A winning chance but another that doesn’t appear value to me.
13. September Run
She was just disappointing in the Newmarket as favourite. She got into an awkward spot but even still, she was going nowhere and never looked likely. I know she started favourite there and I am a believer of trusting the SP, but she’s just unbackable here at $5. All her form is down the straight and now she comes to Moonee Valley which is completely different, and she draws barrier 12 so likely gets back to near last. If she’s making her run with Libertini there’s no way in the world I’m tipping September Run to finish better. Quality filly but this just doesn’t look her race.
14. Swats That
Keeps racing well. Was good in the Lightning and solid again in the Newmarket, beaten 2L by Indian Pacific, who she meets 2.5kg better at the weights. Unlike September Run she has run at The Valley before, winning the Champagne Stakes at this T/D in the Spring. This is obviously much harder and I’m not sure she’s quite up to WFA group 1 sprinters, even if this isn’t the absolute A grade. She maps well and won’t be far away, but I’ve got others ahead.
Keen to be with Libertini who is an absolute bomb fresh on a dry track, which she gets here. She’ll get back from the barrier but if she can find a back to follow and get moving before the turn she’ll be very hard to hold out. Berry coming down to Melbourne to ride suggests she’s going to be hard to beat. Indian Pacific is the value. He beat half this field in the Newmarket after leading, and he should sit just off Pippie with minimal fuss. I think she’s suspect at the end of 1200m and might not be at her best, so I think he’ll look the winner at the 100m mark. Masked Crusader will need luck from barrier 2 but has come back very well and I can’t wait to see him in a brutally run race which could take him to a new level.
Also Backing: (6) Masked Crusader – $8.10 at Sportsbetting
Betting Strategy – 2 units WIN Libertini, 0.75 units WIN Masked Crusader, 0.25/0.5 units E/W Indian Pacific