Runners to watch: Moonee Valley, December 23rd

Luke Krahe race reviews, notes and blackbookers from Saturday's Melbourne metro meeting at Moonee Valley.

Blackbookers: Race 8 – Leodoro. Gave them a huge start after missing the kick, he flew late along the rails to not be beaten far in a race where the leader won.

Race 1: McCafe Handicap BM84 1600m.

ROYAL APPLAUSE (1st) did a good job after over-racing mid-race, she had to pull three-wide a little earlier than they would have liked and was still too strong on the line. On a day when the on-pacers seemed favoured, she did a good job to get past her more fancied rivals that had settled 1st and 2nd in the run.

Notes: MILES OF KRISHAN (3rd) and HEAVENLY DESCENT (2nd) both appeared to have their chances on a track which suited those on the pace, although the margin 1st – 3rd was only 0.3 lengths. BONUS D’ORO (4th) settled behind the leader and Yendall may have taken some poor options getting off the rail down the side, a run came along the inner where he would have been right in the finish, she finished off ok after balancing up.

Race 2: Ladbrokes Odds Boost Exotics Handicap BM70 1500m.

TRULY DISCREET (1st) showed more urgency early this start off the inside gate, there was good support for her at big odds too with Williams on. She controlled it in front and after looking under pressure on the turn, she rallied to be holding them nicely on the line.

Notes: Again, they couldn’t make up ground from the back late, KARDASHING (2nd) was three-wide for a lot of the race but was within striking distance, PLEASURING (3rd) had her back and didn’t run on well enough, SUPER HUSSY (unplaced) had the soft run behind the leader/winner. Forget those back in the field ever went around. I doubt this race will be worth following as far as a form reference goes.

Race 3: New Year’s Eve at Legends Hcp BM64 1500m.

LA VOLT (2nd) was huge in defeat and the ride of the kid was superb. From the wide gate he was stuck three-wide the journey and he took off from the 600 four-wide to improve and on a day where it was very hard to make ground, he continued to run on hard and was still doing best on the line.

Notes: RANSOM MONEY (1st) had a perfect run in transit after jumping well he had the cold sit on the leaders and pulled out at the right time and gave Ethan Brown another winner, the kid is flying. VUNGERS (3rd) had no excuses in front, BERNIE BOY (unplaced) was near last in the run, loomed out very wide but the run ended at the 100m mark. KRUSTY (unplaced) didn’t have a lot of luck approaching the turn when held-up and was well back, pay to forgive that run.

Race 4: Summer Membership Hcp BM78 2040m.

All honours with the winner STRAIGHT JACKET (1st) who had to sit outside the leader in the run in a race where that said leader folded well before the straight. The tempo was good enough early before getting a breather mid-race, she rode it a treat rolling past the leader down the side and showing a stack of fight in the straight. Last start Bordertown Cup winner, the 7yo gelding bought up a Saturday Metro double for the Wilde camp.

Notes: Hard to find any excuses, SHANGANI PATROL (3rd) was charging late when it was all over, it looks better suited on a bigger track. CRAFTY DEVIL (unplaced) was ok late but didn’t show any run-on as it has been doing. THE THUG (unplaced) led but was the first horse beaten a long way from home, the vet found nothing wrong either. All honours with the win and the rider!

Race 5: Bertocchi Christmas Masterpiece Hcp 2500m.

Notes: IMPERIAL AVIATOR (unplaced) was the most interesting runner in this, and after starting favourite he never got going after a cheap run and was the first horse beaten down the side. He was swabbed after finding no irregularities, he is better than that. DANDY GENT (1st) had to do all the chasing behind the leader that rolled along, that wasn’t as much of a disadvantage today. ORMITO (2nd) did a good job as the first horse off the fence throughout. SURVIVED (unplaced) led and was gone well before the turn. ONCIDIUM RULER (unplaced) also did nothing from the back after having a stack of support but did feature in the steward’s report.

Race 6: Powerflo Solutions Hcp BM78 1200m.

Notes: For the first time today we see the back-markers feature, they went hard and although the track may have favoured her, the run of ESSENCE OF TERROR (unplaced) was enormous. She had to work very hard to lead, a role which she has not done before, kicked 3 lengths clear at the top of the straight and the early burn told late when getting run down in the shadows of the post. She was clearly the best of those on the speed. JUST HIFALTUN (2nd) came from a seemingly impossible position on the turn, flashed out wide and the winner ATLANTIC CITY (1st) also came from well back. The first three across the line all came from well back and wide. A couple back in the field were held-up in the straight but weren’t going to win. Stick with the 4th horse though, if she comes back in the Autumn ok and they stick with these tactics she will be winning again soon into the next prep.

Race 7: Ladbrokes VOBIS Gold Carat 1200m.

What a win by BEL SONIC (1st). This boy looks to have a future, he made it two for two this prep with an impressive last to first win. He was ridden cold and although the speed was genuine, the way he finished off was impressive, layed in badly in the straight but that may have just been him having his first look here. Very impressive!

Notes: AEECEE TONG DE (2nd) was brave in defeat after sitting outside the leader which she put away before the straight. TELEPLAY (3rd) was held-up a little approaching the straight but wasn’t going with the winner late. CRYSTAL SPIRIT (unplaced) had no excuses after a perfect run in transit. MURAAHIB (unplaced) struggled to wind-up when the runs came after being a big drifter in the betting, was ok late along the inside but never likely.

Race 8: Follow @TheValley Hcp BM84 1000m.

Notes: WISE HERO (2nd) was well supported and although he had a good run in transit, he just lost a little ground when easing around runners approaching the straight and once he balanced up he flew through the line. Take nothing away from the roughie MURPHY’S REWARD (1st) who made his own luck in front, NASDEX (3rd) seemed to have every chance also. One of the eye-catching runs of the day was LEODORO (unplaced), he settled a long last, stuck to the rail and flashed along the inside late being beaten not much more than a length after giving them a huge start. LADY ESPRIT (unplaced) officially finished last, but she was climbing all over the back of them at the top of the straight, was dragged back and took no part as the jock sat up the last furlong. Complete forgive run. STAR STEALER (unplaced) also had no luck early in the straight and went to the line untested.

Race 9: Hcp BM84 1500m.

This one was never in doubt for the well supported WIDGEE TURF (1st). He showed he can do it on all surfaces after his heavy track win fresh, sat mid-field on a good tempo, eased wide at the 600 and cruised into it approaching the straight before putting them away. Was going to win a long way out!

Notes: No excuses for those behind. The on-pacers may have gone too hard and the back markers had the sit on the winner, nothing to follow from the beaten brigade.