Moonee Valley Racing Preview – Saturday December 23rd

Saturday racing returns to Moonee Valley this weekend and we are set for nine talent-rich races at the major metropolitan track.

The Vobis Gold Carat headlines the Moonee Valley card and has drawn a classy field of three-year-old sprinters.

Race 1 – McCafe Handicap (1600m) – 1:00pm

A smart but small field of milers will step out in the first race at Moonee Valley and there is plenty of value to be taken.

Miles Of Krishan just missed as a favourite at Morphettville last time and she will appreciate a return to ‘good’ going here. The Snitzel mare has drawn ideally into the race in barrier 3 and should find herself right in the finish once more, at healthy odds.

This is a step back in class for Heavenly Descent and she may never be offered a better opportunity to return to winning form. The daughter of Snitzel certainly does not win out of turn, but she was smart to the line when second at Sandown earlier this month and can go one better here.

Tip: No. 6 Heavenly Descent ($3.90)

Race 2 – Ladbrokes Odds Boost Exotics Handicap (1500m) – 1:35pm

Race 2 has drawn a particularly open field and there is a case to be made for more than half the runners.

Helix Park debuted for a smart win at Mornington and looks like a horse with plenty of upside. The Nicconi filly should be able to slot in behind the race leader from a good draw and harbours a smart turn of foot. This is a step up in class, but she will have conditions to suit and is worth consideration at each-way odds.

Super Hussey is another filly that looks to be a little over the odds and she can return to winning form here. Super Hussey flew home to record a smart win at Yarra Valley first-up this time, before getting too far back when finishing fifth at Moonee Valley last time out. She can take a much more positive position from barrier 2 and Katelyn Mallyon has a great record for trainer Andrew Noblet.

The Darren Weir-trained Pleasuring is ready to peak fourth-up and could prove tough to hold out at the concluding stages of the race.

Tip: No. 2 Helix Park – Each Way ($9/$2.70)

Race 3 – New Year’s Eve at Legends Handicap (1500m) – 2:10pm

La Volt has returned to racing in great conditions this time and is a live chance of returning to winning form in Race 4 at Moonee Valley on Saturday. La Volt was unlucky to finish second at Sale first-up after being caught three-wide without cover, before another luckless run that saw him held up in the final straight at Caulfield, before finishing off for fourth. The Charge Forward gelding will have claiming apprentice Zac Spain in the saddle.

Another horse that warrants attention is the Brendon Hearps-trained Vungers, who represents outstanding value at genuine each-way odds. Vungers is yet to finish outside the placings through his three starts this time in and generally loves racing at the Valley, having worked home to finish second over 1528m here last Friday. He’s sure to have taken benefit from that run and can go one better here.

Tip: No. 15 Vungers – Each Way ($11/$3.50)

Race 4 – $99 Summer Membership Handicap (2040m) – 2:45pm

Fontein Lad has steadily built to the task this time and is ready to return to winning form in this race. The Turffontein gelding was a strong and consistent performer through autumn and winter this year, resulting in a trip north and credible seventh-placing in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m). Fontein Lad will appreciate a return to ‘good’ going, a drop in weight and a favourable draw. All signs suggest that the horse will be tough to beat.

Former Godolphin galloper Shards has been reasonably inconsistent this time, but he worked to the line well for fourth following a tough run in transit and appears as though he will enjoy a step up in distance.

Tip: No. 8 Fontein Lad ($4)

Race 5 – Bertocchi Christmas Masterpiece Handicap (2500m) – 3:20pm

Nine stayers will step out in Race 5, but the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Imperial Aviator is undoubtedly the horse to beat. Imperial Aviator worked to the line well to finish second behind Lord Kingsley in the BM85 (2000m) first-up on November 18th, before delivering a smart field a comfortable defeat in a 2400m race at Rosehill on December 2nd. Waterhouse & Bott-trained horses have been outstanding in Victoria this year and that record is only strengthened with Stephen Baster in the saddle. The only minor query is how the horse will run at the Victorian way of going, but he is the class horse of this field and is our Best Bet of the day at Moonee Valley.

Tip: No. 2 Imperial Aviator ($2.40)

Race 6 – Powerflo Solutions Handicap (1200m) – 4:00pm

This is probably the most open race of the day and there is plenty of value around a number of live chances.

Just Hifalutin has posted two wins through her three most-recent starts and there is nothing to suggest that she can’t muster another big performance here. The daughter of Reset stormed home to win the CRT Davey Dash (1200m) here a fortnight ago, but may need some early luck from a wide draw.

Former Perth galloper King River is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from his first-up run in Victoria for sixth and with improvement, can go close here. The Haradasun gelding typically comes to hand quickly and with Damien Oliver in the saddle, can use his ideal draw to find a good spot in transit.

Kievann has been racing well without a lot of luck and he may have found his race here. The son of Niello has drawn barrier 6 and should take plenty of improvement into the race, with less weight in tow.

Tip: No. 4 Kievann – Each Way ($6.50/$2.40)

Race 7 – Vobis Gold Carat (1200m) – 4:40pm

The feature race has drawn a talented field of sprinters and subsequently, several winning chances.

The Lindsay Park-trained Muraahib will return to the races a gelding and has trialled well in the lead-up to this race. Muraahib failed to make an impression towards the latter stages of his spring preparation, but performed extremely well fresh including a credible third behind subsequent Group 1 winner Merchant Navy in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes.

Blackwolf Run will also resume in the Gold Carat and is arguably over the odds at his current quote. The All Too Hard gelding has not been seen at the races for more than a year, but ran well with a big weight at Moonee Valley on debut and demands respect.

Bel Sonic produced a tough performance to win first-up and is over the odds at his current quote to repeat that effort and result here. The son of Bel Esprit stamped himself as one to watch throughout his debut campaign, but has clearly taken improvement from his time away from racing and will be better second-up.

Tip: No. 1 Bel Sonic – Each Way ($9.50/2.70)

Race 8 – Follow @TheValley Handicap (1000m) – 5:20pm

A capacity field has been taken for Race 8 and it’s arguably the toughest race of the card to analyse from a betting perspective.

Wise Hero resumed for a classy second at this distance a fortnight ago, in which he and race winner Nasdex gapped the field by close two three lengths late. He should be able to find a prime position in transit from an inside draw and clearly has the late pace to win.

Nasdex will also take his place in this field, but may have to expel some petrol early if he is to find the fence from a wide-ish draw. The Not A Single Doubt gelding will only improve off the race and should enjoy the conditions again this weekend.

Ken’s Dream, Mogador and Valley specialist Sirbible all loom as realistic threats amongst this company.

Tip: No. 14 Wise Hero – Each Way ($6/$2.20)

Race 9 – Handicap (1500m) – 5:55pm

Eleven horses remain in contention for the final race at Moonee Valley and Widgee Turf looks like the one to beat. Widgee Turf returned to the races for a smart win at Sandown and is another horse that will be better with natural improvement here. Draw well and tough to get past.

Former French galloper Le Juge will make his debut for Chris Waller in this race. While it’s tough to line up his form, the horse has generally run well fresh and has the class to figure amongst this company.

Tip: No. 9 Widgee Turf ($2.80)