THE punting weekend of the year has arrived, with three straight days of Group 1 racing plus the AFL and NRL Grand Finals to enjoy.
The racing across the country is top notch but we need not look further than Moonee Valley, Randwick and Caulfield for our weekend best bets.
MOONEE VALLEY FRIDAY
FRIDAY FILL UP
They say you should ‘Back Weir, Drink Beer’ but we’re taking his star sprinter Nature Strip in the Group 1 Moir at The Valley. He beat Houtzen (R7#8, $8.00) home by a nostril in the McEwen (when they both smashed the track record), but we think the Queenslander can turn the tables. She’s drawn for the perfect sit behind a red hot tempo and will get every chance.
— 7HorseRacing ? (@7horseracing) September 8, 2018
A stack of talented early-season two-year-olds step out on debut in the Group 3 Gimcrack and Breeder’s Plate at Randwick. From the recent two-year-old trials we loved the professional efforts of Mayaaseh (R1#9, $3.80) and Lionsgate (R2#11, $13/$3.70) and both can make a serious impression on Saturday.
TREAT ME GOOD
Plenty of Winx form in the G2 Hill Stakes but there’s one at odds who can upset the fancied form line. Luvaluva (R4#11 $12/$3.10) is unbeaten over 2000m and can rebound off a flat second up run at her pet distance. Should be perfectly poised in the run.
Best of the weekend comes in the G1 Flight Stakes with the favourite Miss Fabulass (R6#2, $2.00) primed to build on her impressive career record. The daughter of Frankel showed blistering acceleration to win the Tea Rose and she gives every indication she’ll enjoy the 1600m here. Looks very hard to beat.
Miss Fabulass weaves her way through the field under @KPMcEvoy and launches clear with a powerful kick to bring up an impressive win the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes @royalrandwick for @Leesracing. pic.twitter.com/vlAZcbz0nM
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 15, 2018
A capacity field lines up for the G1 Epsom Handicap with triple Group 1 winner and Melbourne Cup placegetter Hartnell (R7#1, $18/$5.00) carrying top weight. That’s of no concern to us – he’s fit, racing well and won’t mind the sting out of the ground. The price is very attractive for an elite horse like him.
SET FOR THIS
Another big feature race field for The Metropolitan and we’re looking towards the ‘different form’ (but no less impressive) of the Newcastle Cup. Auvray (R8#1, $18/$5.50) was only second up at 2300m when running an impressive second. The low draw here affords him a cosy run in transit and his strike rate over the distance is immense for a horse consistently racing at this level.
‘Up and off’ is an ideal formula for chute races at Caulfield and that’s exactly where Our Crown Mistress (R4#12, $6.50/$2.60) will be positioned on Sunday. She put together a picket fence before a long spell and returned with an eye-catching trial victory. She can begin her Spring campaign on the right foot.
El Dorado Dreaming (R7#1, $8.50/$3.00) caused the Autumn’s biggest boilover at 150/1 in the G1 Sires. While she’s not quite that price in the Thousand Guineas Prelude, she is taking on arguably the weekend’s most fancied runner Smart Melody. Our pick’s second trial leading into this first up assignment was mouth-watering and the favourite remains unproven beyond sprint distances. She’ll be charging home!
In Her Time, warming up for #TheEverest, is run down by stablemate El Dorado Dreaming in a 1000m trial @newcastleraces_ on Wednesday. In Her Time is due to contest the Premiere Stakes on September 29. @tabcomau @SkyRacingAU @7horseracing pic.twitter.com/R7uRhxStoH
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) September 18, 2018