Moonee Valley Race 6 No.2 Real Love
Real Love’s first run for Darren Weir was outstanding and you can expect this quality staying mare to cement her Adelaide Cup hopes with a win here. The 2015 Perth Cup winner ran just as well in the 2016 edition but unfortunately for her it was a stronger renewal mainly due to her two ex-stablemates that finished in front of her in Delicacy and Neverland. Shifted to Weir for an Autumn campaign, Real Love was unsuited by the drop back to 2000m as well as the lack of speed in her last start at Flemington, but still had the class to run on from last and get within 2 lengths of two in form middle distance types in Tashbeeh and Second Bullet – no she didn’t win, but it was exactly the sort of effort connections would have liked to have seen. Feel like this mare will really blossom under Weir and become a threat in Spring staying races – she faces a few handy types here but will win if she copes with Moonee Valley.
Moonee Valley Race 2 No.7 Spreadeagled
Since the moment we’ve seen him on an Australian racetrack, the Robert Smerdon trained Spreadeagled has yet to put a foot wrong. He won his first two in stylish fashion at Sandown before held up for a run and having zero luck when third at the same venue when the ride lacked initiative. He showed that was no concern for him by winning again, this time at Moonee Valley, and in perhaps his most dominant manner. There’s no doubt this race is a genuine step up in grade from what he’s been up against so far but most of these are either stayers or still very early in their prep, and he is rock hard fit and in flying form. The one that isn’t is track specialist Siegestor, but think the race he won here two starts back lacked depth as did his latest start when he ran second to Pemberley with Adelaide restricted galloper Capodecina in third. Spreadeagled to continue soaring through the grades.
Werribee Race 2 No.12 Lazumba
This isn’t a strong maiden and Lazumba is a group two placed filly that obviously gets in very well under the set weight conditions. Admittedly her Spring 3yo campaign was disappointing, but the fact that she returns for an Autumn prep makes you believe that whatever issues she struck throughout late last year she is over, and this race looks the perfect spot to kick off this campaign and gain some confidence before potentially tackling Saturday or black type company again. The 1420m first up is probably up her alley more than a 1200m race, and she draws well enough that Steven King won’t have to go back to last on her if he doesn’t want to – if she’s returned anywhere near her best she just wins.
Albury Race 6 No.1 Ruark
Ruark ended his initial campaign in disappointing fashion but there was clearly some sort of issue there, prior to that he’d produced two stellar wins, including one where he was out of his grade and up against more experienced rivals, yet was quite dominant. He returns here in a race that’s over the same track and distance as those two victories, up against a few that are either out of form or not as well suited as him. He’s bound to get a perfect run behind the speed from the inside gate and there’s little doubt he’s got more upside than his rivals – it’s always a big ask for a 3yo to carry more weight than his older rivals and win, but think this guy is up to it.
Quirindi Race 7 No.8 Egyptian Ruler
The Quirindi Cup has attracted a full field of milers but one stands out as having several boxes ticked – Egyptian Ruler arrives here with a placing behind highly promising three year old Montaigne at Randwick and is knocking on the door for his first win this time in. All three runs this prep have been nice efforts and he has a great sense of timing about him for a race like this. Throw in the fact he gets the best jockey available at the meeting and he draws the fence and it all adds up to him being a solid bet here.
Moonee Valley Race 7 No.11 Always
Interesting fillies race this with several good last start winners as well as a few dropping back down in grade. Thought the Ciaron Maher trained Always was outstanding on debut – had to overcome an unsuitable tempo when she travelled well back in the field in a muddling run affair and powered home to catch subsequent winner Kalidaz, it’s rare for a first starter to be so adaptable regardless of the speed in a race and showed that she has above average ability. No doubt this is a step up, but she gets some weight off some of the fillies in the race that have proven themselves competitive in better grade and she draws a barrier that can allow her to be placed wherever she is comfortable in the run because I don’t think she’s necessarily a get back horse, it just worked out that way on debut. If she has improved into this, and the fact she’s here suggests she would have, then expect her to be right in the thick of it and don’t be surprised if she’s not headed for Saturday class shortly.