Runners to watch: Moonee Valley, December 29th

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

Blackbookers:

Race 3 – IRRESISTABLE GIRL.

Race 4 – CRACK THE CODE.

Race 1: Super VOBIS 2YO Plate 1200m.

YES YES YES (1st) had the most experience of all the babies, he was coming to the races for the third time and recorded win number two. He had the perfect ride three-wide with cover, appeared on the scene at the top of the straight and was way too strong through the line for a soft win.

Notes: ALBURQ (2nd) showed good speed, led but was no match for the winner late. BATTLECRUISER (3rd) was a real eye-catcher, after being a little slowly away, the Snitzel colt was well back, had to dodge the carnage approaching the straight, before running on hard for an encouraging debut. CRYSTAL BEAU (unplaced) failed to finish and broke down badly on the turn, hampering a few others in the process.

Race 2: BM64 Handicap 1600m.

Notes: CATCHING BEAMS (1st) had no weight on his back carrying only 51.5 kg after the claim, rolled straight to the front and was never headed. She kicked hard on the turn after setting a good tempo in front, she wouldn’t have wanted it any further though as MAHIS ANGEL (2nd) was coming home hard to narrowly miss. He had a good run in transit early before being hampered when a horse went around him when the runs came. He balanced up and got to the outside and ran on hard and was unlucky not to win. WELCOME STRYKER (3rd) was next best but well beaten after a nice ride saw him saving ground when running on. LUCABELLE (unplaced) was well in the market but was never in the race and dropped out sharply, have to see the steward’s report as there was surely a problem there.

Race 3: 3YO Fillies BM70 Handicap 1200m.

Notes: EMBRACE ME (1st) took advantage of the solid tempo being set at the front of the field, she settled down well back but was always travelling well. Oliver took off well before the turn, had cover before getting widest on the track and continuing the long-sustained run. He ran by the favourite at the top of the straight and was dominant in the end, even though the margin was under a length. IRRESISTABLE GIRL (2nd) was so brave in defeat, she led and had no peace early, railed well and was only collared late by the winner who had come from last with the solid tempo. She was clearly the best of the on-pacers, she will be winning again soon. METRONOME (3rd) was solid resuming and will benefit from the run, she was hitting the line as good as anything. SYMPHONETTE (unplaced) was a tough ride for Dunn in the straight, she would have got a lot closer but appeared to be on one reign for a lot of the straight. SORA (unplaced) SP’d as the favourite, sweated up pre-race and looked to have every chance and was found to be lame post-race, so we can forgive her that run.

Race 4: Fillies and Mares BM70 Handicap 1000m.

Visually, this was the most impressive win of the day. CRACK THE CODE (1st) was resuming today as a 3YO taking on the older horses, she settled back in the field in what was a fast-run race. Oliver was at his best here on board the Mick Price filly, eased into the clear approaching the straight and showed a brilliant turn-of-foot to quickly put them away. She was eased down late to win by just under 2 lengths, she could be a star.

Notes: Hard to make an excuse for the beaten brigade, OUR GLADIATOR (unplaced) wasn’t given much peace up front and stuck on ok, SOUL STAR (2nd) hit the line ok resuming today, FREEZE OVER (3rd) stuck on ok after having to make the running three-wide to the turn. Stick with the winner, a brilliant victory giving Olly a race-to-race double.

Race 5: Fillies and Mares BM70 handicap 1600m.

Notes: OCEANEX (1st) started just in black figures, and those that had taken the short quote were not happy when the heat turned on from the 600. After settling back, she begun to circle them but was forced very wide by a couple of riders getting off underneath her, she seemingly wasn’t improving until she balanced up at the top of the straight. Once she did, she found a new gear and really attacked the line nicely. That can happen here at the Valley, she really had to dig deep. ESPOSITO GOLD (2nd) was good up on the speed after rolling them along in front, she kept finding in the straight. CRIMSON TEARS (3rd) had every possible chance, she raced inside the favourite early then saved ground and forced the winner very wide on the turn but was no match for her the last furlong. CASA DE LAGO (unplaced) hit the line well after saving ground on the turn. I wouldn’t be rushing to back any of them next start, apart from the winner, but would like to see her on a bigger track.

Race 6: Handicap 2040m.

Notes: AL GALAYEL (1st) made it back to back wins following his victory here at the Valley a month ago. Williams rode him very confidently, waiting until the 600m mark to make his run from back in the field. He cruised up alongside them and Williams hadn’t flinched, he had to get busy in the straight as he wouldn’t run past the inside horses but once he did, he asserted his authority. MASUCLINO (2nd) had every possible chance after trailing the leaders. He pulled three-wide approaching the turn but was very one paced, kept going through the line but couldn’t match the winner’s acceleration. STRIKE FORCE (3rd) stuck on ok after sitting outside the leader but had every chance as the tempo wasn’t against that pattern. BEAUTY WAY (unplaced) had every chance but was still working to the line well late. ANOTHER COLDIE (unplaced) was horrible, he dropped out before the turn after doing no work in behind the leader.

Race 7: BM78 Handicap 2500m.

Notes: KHARTOUM (1st) produced an impressive staying effort to win here, after sitting outside the leader early, he was then forced to do all the chasing when the front-runner quickened the tempo and extended the lead mid-race. He was very one paced but after reeling in the leader he continued to surge and was doing as well as anything late. GOODWOOD ZODIAC (unplaced) cruised along in front and set up a big lead, he looked gone approaching the turn but stuck on well. THE GATTING BALL (2nd) had every possible chance, sat behind the leader then when the leader shifted off the fence when tiring approaching the straight, he shot through but didn’t stay the trip as well as the winner. PLEASURING (3rd) settled well back, he was running on hard and looked the winner out wide approaching the straight, just wobbled a little around the bend but didn’t come on well enough late. He would have traded low in the in-play betting, he looked like he was just going to run by them, and was entitled to.

Race 8: BM70 Handicap 1000m.

Notes: MISS NORWAY (1st) was given the soft run and was entitled to win the way she did. Settling just behind the leaders two-wide, Martin angled her around the four that had lined up front and when he got her to the outside you could see she was the one a long way from home. She did want to lay in going up the straight, but she was clearly the strongest to the line. MAKAHU BOY (2nd) was forced to work three-wide early to eventually lead, he stuck on well after that early burn and was only overhauled late. RUNSATI (2rd) elected to take the sit and not lead, angled into the clear but was no match for the winner. TBILISI (unplaced) was a real eye-catcher late, he was not to be seen approaching the turn before running on hard late.

Race 9: Handicap 1000m.

What a brilliant ride from Stackhouse to get ASHLOR (1st) home in the last. Coming back from having a crack at the Winterbottom in Perth, he was well away from the inside gate but was always going to struggle to hold the front, he got off the rail and sat outside the leader and applied the pressure a long way out. The leader folded and he found himself in front a long way from home, he never looked like losing after a brilliant ride.

Notes: OUR LUCA (unplaced) loves this track and flies around here, he once again led but was gone before the turn after the winner applied the acid test a long way from home. He really needs to be able to dictate to be able to finish off the last furlong. ESSENCE OF TERROR (2nd) settled a little further back than is the norm today, ran on well enough but was entitled to with the run she had. THERMAL CURRENT (3rd) did his thing, dropped out early but was charging home when it was all over. he was string through the line but never looked a winning chance.