Pleasuring flew home to finish a close third in the Pinker Pinker Plate at Cranbourne last time out and will be tough to beat fourth-up at Moonee Valley this evening. The Hard Spun mare has typically contested races in tougher company than she finds tonight and has continued to improve with racing this time in. She could enjoy the run of the race from the ideal barrier 4 and she is weighted to win.
The ever-dangerous Widgee Turf will take his place in the Vobis Gold Star tonight and looks extremely well placed. The consistent performer resumed from a freshen-up to finish third in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400) at Caulfield in August, before producing another smart run for second in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) last time out. He has been charged with carrying topweight tonight, but he has most of his rivals covered on class.
Esperance has returned to the track in outstanding form this time and is the horse to beat again in the fifth at Moonee Valley tonight. The Bernardini gelding finished on the winner’s heels at his first two starts this time, before returning to the winner’s stall with a good performance in an 1100m sprint at Warwick Farm. His dominant win in a Saturday Randwick race last time was easily the best of his career so far and a repeat of that performance would see him winning again.
This is an outstanding edition of the Group 1 Manikato Stakes, but it looks set up for a horse like Brave Smash and the Japanese import looks over the odds at his current price ($10 at the time of publish). The Tosen Phantom entire clearly didn’t handle the heavy going in The Everest last time so I am happy to forgive that run, and he hit the line extremely well to finish second in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) here at the Valley two starts back. With Hugh Bowman in the saddle, he can fight out the finish.