Moonee Valley review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: United Refrigeration (1000m)

1st Petits Filous – Damien Oliver
2nd Stream Ahead – Patrick Keane
3rd Grisbi’s Run – Chris Parnham

Haybah was first out but The Big Dance gathered speed inside and took it up. Petits Filous jumped fairly and Deja Blue also drove up on the fence leaving Petits Filous in a perfect trail midfield. The Big Dance was kept a bit busy by Haybah but coming to the turn both were showing signs of distress and Petits Filous eased around them to stride into it. Deja Blue waited and Stream Ahead tried to get onto the back of Petits Filous from last. Petits Filous had them covered at the 200m and she opened up with Stream Ahead chasing as The Big Dance weakened, Deja Blue couldn’t do any better while Grisbi’s Run made some late ground into a place but was never a threat. Easy work for Petits Filous and while she had the run of the race she won in second gear. Probably not a strong race though the winner looks progressive. On face value, while both first-up, The Big Dance and Haybah were disappointing and will need to improve sharply to go anywhere in the spring.
Follow: merit in the run of Stream Ahead who didn’t give up the chase.

Race 2: 1Print Handicap (1000m)

1st Demonstrate – Craig Newitt
2nd Star Planet – Katelyn Mallyon
3rd Destiny’s Reward – Darren Gauci

Top Me Up sprung out from the inside alley to lead but was joined by Attack The Line quite quickly and Star Planet stuck his head between them for a while before easing. Bantam also eased and he over raced when being restrained with Demonstrate improving on the fence and Equinova outside. Top Me Up held them out and had Attack The Line under a bit of pressure coming to the turn. Demonstrate continued to make ground behind them and Star Planet pulled out to run on. Top Me Up skipped away soon after and allowed Demonstrate to come off his back to challenge. Attack The Line dropped off and Star Planet went with Demonstrate to claim the leader inside the 200m. Running on from the back Destiny’s Reward started to make inroads. In a close finish Demonstrate just held off Star Planet while Destiny’s Reward hit the line nicely. Top Me Up just weakened the last bit. Demonstrate had been thereabouts in solid Saturday company and the drop in distance probably suited. They ran almost a second slower time than the fillies in the previous race. Top Me Up had his chance and Attack The Line was thrown in the deep end on debut and wasn’t up to it.
Follow: none.

Race 3: Melbourne Signage Concepts (1000m)

1st Our Nkwazi – Ben Melham
2nd Hard Romp – Katelyn Mallyon
3rd Il Cavallo – Chad Schofield

Pistolier was first out but didn’t want the lead and handed right up. Sweet Emily had to work to cross Il Cavallo and Hard Romp, who held the fence, and a gap opened up back to Sea Lord getting past Pistolier. No sooner did Sweet Emily get to the fence did Il Cavallo whip up sit outside and keep the pressure on, giving Hard Romp a nice trail. Sea Lord put under pressure, as was Pistolier, before the turn and Our Nkwazi started to run on, also under hard riding. Il Cavallo cruised up to Sweet Emily on the turn and looked to be going strongly but soon after started to falter. Hard Romp pulled out to run on and Our Nkwazi was really hitting his top down the outside. Il Cavallo had nothing left at the 50m but he did box on until Hard Romp and then Our Nkwazi picked him up close to the line with Our Nkwazi getting the bob in. Behind them flashing home from last was Mr Make Believe. These sprinters are fairly well exposed and all bar Sweet Emily were race fit. She did it too hard in the early stages. Wait until she gets back to mares grade, the others take it in turns.
Follow: none.

Race 4: Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1600m)

1st First Bloom – Harry Coffey
2nd Spirit Of Heaven – Damien Oliver
3rd Dig A Pony – Linda Meech

Shadow Of The Mist was ridden out of the gates to find the lead and got there with Takeover sitting up handy. Spirit Of Heaven broke well but was caught wide around Domino Vitale and To Be Honest. Dig A Pony was also trapped and eased to last. Then the speed dropped right off as Shadow Of The Mist and Takeover took control. Spirit Of Heaven was forced to stride up three wide and the field packed up by the 800m as Takeover went to the lead. Wide out Hula Lua tried to get into the race and First Bloom pushed up in that bunch as well. Shadow Of The Mist tried to come back at Takeover on the turn with Spirit Of Heaven chiming in. Behind her First Bloom was creeping forward and around them Dig A Pony started her long run from last. Spirit Of Heaven hit the lead at the 100m but First Bloom had the drop on her and drove past for a narrow win. Dig A Pony really launched in the last bit but ran out of ground. Takeover wilted late and Domino Vitale was close up without ever threatening. Another race with plenty of well exposed form. No luck for Spirit Of Heaven sitting wide on the speed and being a sitting shot while the tempo played against Dig A Pony. The winner is an honest mare but she’s unlikely to string a few together.
Follow: Dig A Pony and Spirit Of Heaven look ready to win but may be running out of races.

Race 5: National Jockey Celebration Day (2040m)

1st Bagman – Damien Oliver
2nd Lord Durante – Darren Gauci
3rd Diametric – Craig Newitt

A bit of pressure early for the lead but Honourable Aussie held them out over Hioctdane, Venture On and Distant Dreams, the latter pair taking sits. Lord Durante lobbed into a nice trail next and Ruary Mac followed him. Bagman was back in the second half on the fence. Honourable Aussie seemed to run them along a bit in front but the tempo obviously didn’t suit Lord Durante because he took off up the back straight and that fired Hioctdane up as well and he moved closer to the leader. Bagman kept improving along the fence and was just behind Venture On as that move was being made. Honourable Aussie settled the ship a bit but it was on again at the 600m with Lord Durante striding up three wide around Hioctdane to put the pressure on. Venture On was waiting and pulled out near the turn to run on. Bagman was being stoked up getting inside Distant Dreams and off the fence, a spot taken by Diametric who looked to travel well. Hioctdane went for home at the 200m and got a break but it was reeled in quickly as Lord Durante kept coming and Bagman unwound with his sprint to pick them up down the outside. Diametric made his run between the leader and Lord Durante getting into third. Venture On behind them had his chance. At First Sight finished the race off well when it was all over. Bagman proved too good yet again putting two wins together under the 60kg. It doesn’t seem to bother him. A solidly run race suited him but the stablemate Diametric might be the one going forward after another solid effort.
Follow: Diametric looks to have taken to Melbourne and is ready to win.

Race 6: Ranvet Handicap (2000m)

1st Valiant Warrior – Anthony Darmanin
2nd Mighty Like – Tom Sadler
3rd Tawteen – Stephen Baster

Tawteen showed her usual early speed and made it across to the fence cheaply. Mighty Like bounced well and moved forward while Valiant Warrior trailed in the box seat. Nearest To Pin and Snippetee Bee were just off the leading bunch. They opened a decent lead on the rest of the field. Tawteen was able to have reasonable control in front though Mighty Like kept her honest. Valiant Warrior just sat there behind them while Nearest To Pin was the first to get anxious. Mighty Like served it up to Tawteen coming to and rounding the turn and they kicked a couple clear, opening up room for Valiant Warrior to ease out and start his bid. Nearest To Pin and Snippetee Bee couldn’t do any better while Supreme Warrior was best of the chasers. With the cold sit on the leaders, Valiant Warrior cruised past them and raced away for a soft win. Mighty Like and Tawteen boxed on but brought each other undone while Supreme Warrior and Flash Of Doubt were close up. Very much an on-pace dominated race and with the run he had Valiant Warrior was entitled to win as easily as he did. Both placegetters will have some upside and are capable of winning races.
Follow: Mighty Like looks in for a good preparation.

Race 7: Jeep Handicap (1600m)

1st Lake Sententia – Chris Parnham
2nd Raposo – Chad Schofield
3rd Streets Away – Brad Rawiller

Raposo was a bit slow away as has become his norm. Leveraction worked across to lead at the first turn and Digitalism moved into second. The stayer Ruscello was up handy in the box seat and Vizhaka was in the clear. Count Of Limonade and Lake Sententia kept Sino Eagle on a three wide run. Leveraction ran them along in front and Sino Eagle kept edging forward out wide around Ruscello and Digitalism in the middle stages. Vizhaka became held up and Lake Sententia got onto the back of Sino Eagle for a cart home. Raposo got to the outside of her to start to work into it and left Streets Away in behind them. Sino Eagle seemed to cruise into it on the turn as Digitalism struggled and she hit the lead from Leveraction, also battling. Right on her hammer were Lake Sententia and Raposo looming large. Soon after turning Raposo looked set to go straight past them but just as he did Lake Sententia kicked in and fought hard, finishing off the race best to win. Streets Away ran on nicely a couple of lengths back getting past a game Sino Eagle. While Raposo missed the start, again, it is hard to make any excuse for him as he chimed in to win and was outgunned by the previously out of form Lake Sententia. Although dropping in class the winner really turned it around, leaving us all to scratch our heads and wonder what to make of it.
Follow: Streets Away backed up his good first-up run with another nice effort.

Race 8: Sweeney Estate Agents (1200m)

1st Jetello – Chad Schofield
2nd Sir Mask – Jake Bayliss
3rd Handsome Tycoon – Glen Boss

Jetello was first out but headed by Charles In Charge and Bishops Castle on his inside. Tiger’s Cub and Handsome Tycoon were in the leading pack with Le Remas and they kept Jetello wide early on and there was a wall behind them. Bishops Castle held the lead over Charles In Charge and out of that wall of horses came Sir Mask to put himself in the picture around Tiger’s Cub. Le Remas was giving ground on the inside of Handsome Tycoon and Jetello got some cover when Sir Mask improved. Charles In Charge dispensed on Bishops Castle before the turn and Sir Mask went with him. Tiger’s Cub still followed while Jetello worked to keep clear running as Monkstone swept around them. Sir Mask ran to the lead at the 200m and Jetello in turn went with him to challenge. Monkstone’s run ended and Handsome Tycoon got up on the inside. Jetello finished off the race better for a solid win over Sir Mask and Handsome Tycoon ran his usual honest race. A line up behind the placegetters with Lockroy getting home and Charles In Charge and Tiger’s Cub boxing on. This was the $50,000 midweek class race and there doesn’t look to be much to this one. Jetello was a winner at Swan Hill at his previous start but ran up to his good second at the Valley in May.
Follow: none.

Race 9: Benchmark 96 Handicap (2500m)

1st Crafty Cruiser – Ben Melham
2nd Westsouthwest – Dean Yendall
3rd Kareeming – Damian Lane

A line of four battling for the early lead until Doctor Care and Zazparella crossed Danchai and Kareeming eased out of the contest. Westsouthwest was left three wide and pressed on. Reigning and Crafty Cruiser found themselves in perfect trails while the jumper Thubiaan settled well in midfield. Westsouthwest went to the front out of the straight the first time. From there the race was rather uneventful until about the 600m or so where the field seemed to split into two divisions. Zazparella was the first under pressure as Westsouthwest stepped it up. Kareeming and Crafty Cruiser came out to make their runs and Reigning got to the outside in plenty of time. Westsouthwest was a bit wayward on the turn, bumping heavily with Zazparella who then dropped off. Crafty Cruiser and Kareeming chased him and Reigning was still looking a bit dangerous further out. Crafty Cruiser just kept coming and ate them up late in the piece to beat a gallant Westsouthwest while Kareeming had his chance. Reigning kept closing in but also had his chance. A gap to Cooldini and Sir Mako who were never in the race with Zazparella. Your standard Saturday staying event and the consistent Crafty Cruiser took his turn to bob up again. There were a few big flops, the likes of Sir Mako, Danchai and Cooldini and expect the latter to show up in a maiden hurdle before the jumping season ends
Follow: Westsouthwest is ready to win a jumps race