The racing starts to heat up in Melbourne as we approach the Autumn Carnival, with this week’s major meeting at Moonee Valley headlined by the Group 2 Australia Stakes.
Originally the Stanley Wootton Stakes and run in March since 1989, the Moonee Valley Racing Club moved the race to late January in 2002 to coincide with Australia Day. In 2010 it was renamed the Australia Stakes.
The race is a sprint event over 1200 metres and has been won by many notable horses including Redelva, Schillaci, Hareeba, All Our Mob, El Segundo, Malaguerra and the legendary Black Caviar.
Read on for a full preview of the race from our Melbourne racing gun, Trevor Lawson.
Australia Stakes: Trevor Lawson’s preview
What happens with the track really depends how much rain comes, and we don’t know what that will be as forecasts vary too much! I’ve done the race at this stage on an even track – which is all you can really do – and I’ll adjust on the day if the first one or two races seems to show a genuine bias.
Marabi should lead from Streets Of Avalon, Lightsaber and Turaath, and maybe Mariamia will push forward. The leader will dictate terms.
STREETS OF AVALON won this race last year. He maps to get a similar run here but is facing better horses. Has a rough chance.
WILD PLANET resumes here. and his best runs are generally deeper into the prep. He’ll get back and will need the pattern and bias in his favour to have any chance.
ORDER OF COMMAND didn’t run anywhere near his ability last prep. He’s getting on in years and I’d prefer to watch and see where he’s at now.
SINAWANN put in a terrific performance at his second run in Australia, and then was given a short break. If he’s wound up here and gets clear running, he’ll be strong late.
Sinawann is only going upwards. 📈 pic.twitter.com/xPd6c1Fhl4
— Racing.com (@Racing) November 28, 2021
GAME KEEPER is second-up off a long spell. Not for me.
TURAATH ran well first-up down the straight and is fitter here second-up. She maps to roll forward and is one of the main chances after the favourite.
MARABI is the undefeated mare. She was terrific in the Christmas Handicap, where she did plenty of work on the speed in a fast-run race before clearing away. She looks to get an easier time of it here. Certainly the one to beat.
Talk about burning the candle at both ends, Marabi is the one to beat in the Oakleigh Plate. pic.twitter.com/WQckSo9PHG
— Racing.com (@Racing) December 26, 2021
LIGHTSABER is an honest three-year-old but I just don’t have any figures that can get him anywhere near the market here.
JUST FOLK, VAINSTREAM and MARIAMIA are outclassed here.
Australia Stakes: Trevor Lawson’s betting approach
Betting is obviously hard in such a tight market. You can’t argue with Marabi being hot favourite but she’s just a bit short for mine… I’d want even money to back her. Sinawann and Turaath are next in line for mine, but I’d definitely want double figures to back either of them.
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