Monee Valley review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: 3yo Fillies Plate (1200m) 

1st Solicit – Glen Boss
2nd Longchamp Belle – Craig Newitt
3rd May’s Dream – Ben Melham

A good line away with the exception of Antarctic Missile who was on the back foot. Mount Zero was first out and Longchamp Belle kicked up to lead on the inside. Imanana rushed up three wide to put pressure on the lead and Solicit took advantage of the inside and held the box seat. Godiva Rock was settled worse than midfield and three wide. Longchamp Belle established a break around the turn and allowed Solicit room to get off her back. May’s Dream, who settled last, swept around them and loomed as the likely winner at the 100m before Solicit balanced up and grabbed Longchamp Belle in the last stride. Godiva Rock battled away behind them to run fourth and is becoming a worry. While she raced wide she didn’t attack the line and is either looking for further or hasn’t come on at three. Antarctic Missile stuck on well after a tough run and So Bella Arella could win a maiden out of town on her effort.

Follow: Solicit still has upside. May’s Dream caught the eye.

Race 2: Vitale & Sons Handicap (1500m) 

1st Divine Calling – Damien Oliver
2nd Orion – Michael Rodd
3rd Honey’s Steel Gold – Chad Schofield

Le Mans and Quest For Peace eased back from their outside gates while Lannister landed in the lead from the inside alley. Divine Calling was stuck wide early then rolled forward to sit on the pace. Honey’s Steel Goldheld the rails behind the lead and Orion settled behind him. The field bunched up around the 600m and soon after Divine Calling poured on the pressure and established what would be a winning break. Orion worked through to do the chasing with Honey’s Steel Gold but they were no match. Quest For Peace was the only other to make any ground as she weaved through to run on for fourth. A couple of big disappointments were Le Mans, who was never a hope, and Benchi Pegasus, who also found himself a long way back and only worked home fairly along the inside.

Follow: Divine Calling was simply too good and could be under-rated. Honey’s Steel Gold was only first-up so will have improvement.

Race 3: Handicap (2500m) 

1st Gotta Take Care – Ben Melham
2nd Crafty Cruiser – Chris Symons
3rd Picture Editor – Dwayne Dunn

Nobody wanted to lead and it took them until the winning post on the first lap for Streets Of Seattle to roll to the front. Tanah Lot found the leader’s back and Crafty Cruiser eventually worked up to sit with the leaders.Anagold settled midfield on the fence with Picture Editor to her outside. Gotta Take Care drifted out to near the tail. Not much changed until the 600m where Picture Editor made his run out four wide and Gotta Take Care quickly latched onto his back. Motivado tried to go with them from last and loomed up outside Gotta Take Care on the home turn. Crafty Cruiser took the lead 200m out and Picture Editor challenged but they were swamped by Gotta Take Care who was again given a 10/10 ride from Ben Melham. Anagold just whacked away behind them and just made it in time for fourth ahead of Streets Of Seattle, who battled away after being the reluctant leader.

Follow: Nothing much here, only to say Gotta Take Care is always a chance at the Valley.

Race 4: Top Cut Stocks Stakes (1600m)

1st Atlantic Jewel – Michael Rodd
2nd Oasis Bloom – Steven Arnold
3rd Oriental Ruby – Nicholas Hall

Messy start with Ava’s Delight quite slow away and Keyarna Blue also tardy by a couple of lengths. After a bit of looking around Michael Rodd elected to settle Atlantic Jewel fourth on the outside with Oasis Bloom andBonne Nuit crossing to take up the running after about 400m. Rodd started looking around as far as 800m out and he elected to slide out three wide after another couple of hundred metres. Atlantic Jewel cruised past the leaders a long way out and Rodd allowed her to do her own thing until about 100m out when he gave her a couple of shakes of the reins. Oasis Bloom held on well for second while Oriental Ruby finished her race off well but they aren’t in the same universe of class. Basically an exercise gallop for Atlantic Jewel who is now nine from nine.

Follow: None outside the obvious.

Race 5: Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) 

1st Kuroshio – Craig Newitt
2nd Moment Of Change – Luke Nolen
3rd General Truce – Nicholas Hall

Good line away and Kuroshio clearly won the start and crossed from his outside gate to find the fence and the lead. Moment Of Change held the rails behind him and Umgeton tried to pressure the lead. Snitzem, who usually leads, wound up fourth and didn’t appreciate it while Platelet settled midfield between horses.General Truce settled back as he usually does. Kuroshio sped clear 400m out and allowed Moment Of Change plenty of time to get out and chase him, but the three-year-old simply proved too fast with the 52kg and ran just over half a second outside the course record. General Truce hit the line well as always from the second half of the field and Platelet got through the field without any trouble and she ran home nicely in an acceptable return. Snitzem is better when he can lead so he’s worth another chance. The others were outclassed.

Follow: Platelet looks open to improvement.

Race 6: Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) 

1st Fiorente – Nash Rawiller
2nd Spacecraft – Stephen Baster
3rd Lidari – Luke Nolen

Fairly even line away and much like race two it took a while for them to sort themselves out. Spacecrafteventually worked to the lead and Sangster came across with him and took a trail as Ajeeb rushed up to second place. Desert Wizard enjoyed a nice run and Super Cool wound up midfield between horses.Fiorente broke cleanly this time and was comfortable back in the field. Spacecraft slipped away well before the 600m and that put them all under pressure to chase him and left the likes of Super Cool flat footed. Desert Wizard railed through to second near the turn and looked a threat. Fiorente was still second last at the 200m with Bass Strait held up inside him and Hornets’ Nest. Lidari got up on the inside of Spacecraft who fought back before Fiorente descended on them to win in the final strides. Super Cool picked himself back up and finished right on their heels along with the luckless Bass Strait. It was all a bit too soon for Desert Wizard and Seville’s last 100m was promising even though he ran last. D-day for him next time.

Follow: Fiorente is a star, Super Cool did enough, Bass Strait was very unlucky. Nice run Lidari.

Race 7: Jeep Don’t Hold Back Handicap (1600m) 

1st The Great Snowman – Glen Boss
2nd Lord Durante – Darren Gauci
3rd Verdant – Jackie Beriman

Fabriano was slow out by a couple of lengths otherwise it was an even line. Conduction was first to the rail and led early before Alpha Proxima came across to roll clear with Lord Durante sitting up on his outside.The Great Snowman landed in a perfect trail while Clear For Action was stranded three wide without cover in midfield. Mourinho was three back on the fence. Lord Durante served it up to Alpha Proxima before the turn and too the lead but he was pounced on by The Great Snowman who had his back and broke clear. Mourinho got into the clear and worked home well and the stayer Verdant made plenty of ground from the back and charged at the line just ahead of Mourinho and Conduction who also stuck on well. Clear For Action disappointed even though he had a wide run, he didn’t hit the line at all, and Alpha Proxima was found out at a strong mile.

Follow: they can take turns but Verdant and Mourinho are staying types who will continue to improve.

Race 8: Drummond Golf Stakes (1200m) 

1st Le Bonsir – Michael Walker
2nd Rekindled Interest – Steven Arnold
3rd It Is Written – Nicholas Hall

Yosei walked out and settled last with That’s The One easing out the back as well. Le Bonsir jumped quickly and led early before handing up to Elite Elle who rolled clear. Lady Melksham worked up to sit third andBudriguez found himself three wide on the speed without cover. The next pair were Rekindled Interest, who settled a lot closer than expected, inside of Neeson and It Is Written had a three wide trail. As she usually does Elite Elle scooted clear before the turn but Le Bonsir tracked her and cruised to the lead and dashed right away. Rekindled Interest worked off the fence and really hit the line well under his 61kg and Valley specialist It Is Written made good ground into a place. That’s The One sprinted home hard out wide but he can do that from time to time. Nice first-up run from Lord Of Brazil who poked through inside to finish just behind the placings. Neeson had every chance, Rusambo was basically unsighted and is becoming costly, Elite Elle and Lady Melksham gave up worryingly.

Follow: Rekindled Interest was outstanding, Lord Of Brazil also excellent first-up.

Specials from the meeting: May’s Dream, Fiorente, Lord Of Brazil.


Race 1

1st        Hosting                              Glyn Schofield
2nd      Twisted Emotions         James McDonald
3rd       Windswept                       Brenton Avdulla

A decent start in the first, and with Windswept and Turnley disputing the early lead off the inside.  Reuniteand Zakynthos Imprintz joined in to make a line of four.  Zakynthos Imprintz was ridden hard and eventually crossed from Reunite and Turnley, with Windswept easing back a bit.  Around the turn, Windswept had moved up out wide, and Hosting which was well supported in betting had trailed up behind them and was looking for an inside run along with Turnley.  Windswept hit the front and had its chance, but when the run came for Hosting it burst through and found the line well to win.  Twisted Emotions finished well for second.  Reunite was disappointing in the run to the line.

Follow: Hosting

Race 2

1st         Footy Fan               Claire Nutman
2nd       Fast And Sexy      Glyn Schofield
3rd        Arms Length         Blake Shinn

Hoybell was a bit slow to begin here.  Footy Fan was exactly the opposite, bursting out from a wide gate to lead easily.  Marmadane worked up to be outside the leader, and Sail was caught three wide.  Fast And Sexy got a nice run behind the speed.  Around the turn, Hoybell and The Special Two were together a few lenghts off the lead looking for runs.  Footy Fan slipped away inside the 200m and really never looked like being beaten.  Fast And Sexy used its good run in transit to be there for second, and Amrs Length poked up along the fence for third.  Hoybell didn’t have the clearest run in the straight.

Follow: Hoybell

Race 3

1st        Diamond Oasis            Jason Collett
2nd      Shelford                         Hugh Bowman
3rd      Agent                               Brett Prebble

Shelford came across to lead, with Blazing Snitzel coming across to sit outside of it.  Green Beret got a nice run behind them, but didn’t want to be on the fence which meant Le Cap was posted three wide.  Around the turn and Shelford was still going ok, and even towards the 150m, looked like it may hold them off.  At the 100m marker however, he put up the white flag and started to paddle a little bit and Diamond Oasis which was a little slow to begin, flashed home to score.  Shelford held on for second, and Agent used an inside run to grab third from Green Beret.

Follow: Agent

Race 4

1st        Ecuador                       Tommy Berry
2nd      Diamond Jim             Serge Lisnyy
3rd       Multilateral                Jim Cassidy

An 1800m event for race 4, and the short priced favourite Ecuador was allowed to stride to the front and was always going to be hard to run down from there.  He led from Acropolis and Multilateral.  Ragtime Cowboy Joe was out very wide, for the first 800m, before eventually working up outside the leader.  Around the turn, Ecuador looked to travel pretty well and was asked to quicken and did so.  Inside the 200m, he established a winning lead of about three lengths and that was it.  There were two runs behind the winner that were worth noting, which were Let’s Be A Star that finished off nicely, and Ragtime Cowboy Joe who didn’t drop out too badly despite the tough run early.

Follow: Let’s Be A Start, Ragtime Cowboy Joe

Race 5

1st          Riva De Lago             Jim Cassidy
2nd        Solzhenitsyn             Jason Collett
3rd         Your Honour           Kerrin McEvoy

Rain Affair began with his regular brilliance, although he didn’t get away from them in front early as he has previously, with Taxmeifyoucan and Solzhenitsyn keeping in touch.  Somepin Anypin was caught three wide on the speed.  Around the turn, Rain Affair was let stride and seemed to be traveling ok, however coming to the 200m, it was obvious he was in a lot of bother as Riva De Lago launched down the outside.  Soon after he went to the lead and came away for a good win.  Solzhenitsyn ran nicely in second and Your Honour was a good run in third.  Taxmeifyoucan wasn’t in the clearest of running at times in the straight, and I do not know what to make of Rain Affair who stopped badly.

Follow: Solzhenitsyn, Your Honour

Race 6

1st         Driefontein              Tommy Berry
2nd       Peron                         Jim Cassidy
3rd       Arctic Flight            Peter Robl

The Sheraco Stakes was race 6, and Brave Soul came out a bit slowly from an inside gate.  Ichihara railed up to take the lade from Driefontein which was slotted across on the rail behind the leader.  From about the 600m, Ichihara wound up the pace and as they came around the turn, appeared to be traveling ok, with Driefontein the only one that was really coming out to challenge.  At the 200m, Deifontein had the measure of Ichihara and at the 100m, established a winning break.  The run of Peron was very good in second and she should be followed.

Follow: Peron

Race 7

1st         Zoustar                  Jim Cassidy
2nd       Dissident               Tim Clark
3rd        Bull Point              Jim Cassidy

Criterion, Bull Point and Zoustar all didn’t begin well in The Golden Rose and went back to the tail of the field.  There was good pace up front, with Into The Red crossing and leading them, from Marsielle Roulette, with Dissident three wide.  Thermal Current and Cluster got good runs behind the speed.  In the straight, Dissident worked its way to the front despite the wide run, but it was Zoustar that launched with a brilliant run down the outside to take victory from Dissident whos run was very good.  Bull Point was massive, coming down the outside after being tailed off about 6 lengths behind the second last horse before the turn.  The runs of Fast And Rocking and Prince Harada which were visiting from Melbourne, were just average, although a case could probably be made to say they weren’t in the clearest of running.  Drago worked home ok but didn’t  really come into it.

Follow: Zoustar, Bull Point

Race 8

1st           Prince Cheri                   Jay Ford
2nd         Honorius                         James McDonald
3rd         Julienas                            Tommy Berry

Lunayir threw the ride of just as they began in the last, which also led to Chasse being pulled out of the race.  Grey Assignment led early, but Daci Be Good went around to take it up in front, with the riderless horse striding up outside of it and running clear.  Honorius got the tag along behind the leader, with Prince Cheri in third.  Grey Assignment got a nice run behind the speed on the fence.  Darci Be Good still led inside the 300m, but was soon beaten with Honorius and Prince Cheri putting in their sprints to go to the front and fight it out with Prince Cheri gaining the advantage close to home.  Julienas ran well in third as did Less Is Morein fourth.  I’m Imposing tried to come through along the inside but didn’t have the same ping home today.

Follow: Julienas

Specials from the meeting: Hosting, Peron, Zoustar