Moonee Valley review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: The Valley Handicap (2040m)

1st Bagman – Craig Newitt
2nd Vintage Lad – Katelyn Mallyon
3rd Hippopus – Vlad Duric

Hippopus showed pace to cross and lead, after working a little, from Vintage Lad who raced without cover and Shenzhou SteedsFlashy Fella improved inside him to be third by midrace and Bagman trailed. Hippopus strode along to the 600m where Vintage Lad moved up to put a little pressure on. Shenzhou Steeds and Flashy Fella were under pressure. Bagman sat back and waited. Vintage Lad went for home on the turn though Hippopus did stick on a bit. Bagman came with his run in the straight and finished too well, giving Vintage Lad 7.5kg and a head start. Hippopus fought on pretty well first-up and the other two disappointed.

Follow: Hippopus on wet tracks.

Race 2: Advanced Mailing Solutions (1600m)

1st Digitalism – Katelyn Mallyon
2nd Count Encosta – Brad Rawiller
3rd Devonshire Duke – Damian Thornton

Charles In Charge showed his usual dash early to lead and Appoint had little trouble in coming across into second. Devonshire Duke improved up to third with Angelic LassLadramahs and Digitalism in the next bunch. Count Encosta settled back in the second half with the import Elwaaryaa. They seemed to go along a bit and Charles In Charge had them stretched out over about 15 lengths. Devonshire Duke was the first to make a move about 600m out striding up three wide outside the leader and Digitalism got onto his back. Ladramahs was one of the first under pressure and was dropping out as Flyingconi tried to pick up around them. Count Encosta was second last coming to the turn. Appoint hit the front momentarily near the turn but Devonshire Duke was challenging. Digitalism stalked them and on the bend Count Encosta had made plenty of ground and was sweeping home. Digitalism grabbed Devonshire Duke with 100m left and while he fought back Count Encosta charged very late and failed by a narrow margin. Appoint stuck on well for fourth and they were well clear of Flyingconi and Elwaaryaa, who made a little ground.

Follow: Count Encosta is flying for his new stable.

Race 3: Melbourne Signage Concepts (2500m)

1st Backbone – Ben Melham
2nd Zabeelionaire – Michael Walker
3rd Sacred Flyer – Chris Symons

A lot more competition for the early lead than usual for a 2500m race as Use The Lot and Angelology were made to work by Mulaqen, who jumped well this time and was hunted forward, while Green Roller was handy before easing. Backbone settled just off them and Zabeelionaire behind him. Use The Lot wasn’t wasting any time and Angelology and Mulaqen stuck with him as they opened up a decent gap on Green Roller midrace. The rest of the field buched a little behind her with Backbone still travelling well. By the 800m Green Roller was gone and dropping out and the leaders started to come back to the field. Use The Lot still led past the 600m but was under sufferance, as was Angelology, and Backbone got to third very quickly. Mulaqen was one paced and Zabeelionaire followed Backbone. Sacred Flyer had made ground to be next and the rest were well out of contention headed by Crafty Cruiser. Backbone went straight past Use The Lot before the turn and kicked right away. Zabeelionaire tried hard but was no match and Sacred Flyer ran to third. Mulaqen just held fourth, ridden upside down, from Crafty Cruiser. No explanation post race for Green Roller’s failure.

Follow: none in particular, though the winner is going well.

Race 4: United Refrigeration Handicap (1000m)

1st Our Nkwazi – Dwayne Dunn
2nd Solsay – Jackie Beriman
3rd African Pulse – Jordan Childs

Siwa Lady and African Pulse were the best to begin. Lord Of The Sky broke evenly and gathered speed to punch through underneath them and take up the running. African Pulse eased out of the battle. A few lengths back the other trio BrokenSolsay and Our Nkwazi raced together in a line. Siwa Lady served it right up to Lord Of The Sky and they matched motors until Lord Of The Sky shook her off before the turn. He just moved a horse or two off the fence but led clearly. African Pulse started to loom and Solsay went back to the inside to pick up ground and run on. Lord Of The Sky drifted back to the fence and was visibly beaten inside the 200m. Solsay and African Pulse were reeling him in and Our Nkwazi stormed home down the outside. Our Nkwazi got his head down at the right time and denied the plunge on Solsay with African Pulse between them. Lord Of The Sky had nothing left after being gassed early on, his effort wasn’t terrible but when you have a front-runner you can’t expect to get it easy all the time. He’ll win raced but will need a thicker skin to be a topliner. Siwa Lady didn’t help herself by trying to go with him either.

Follow: none.

Race 5: Jockeys Celebration Day (1000m)

1st Down The Hatch – Josh Cartwright
2nd Afleet Esprit – Nick Hall
3rd Cool Hero – Dwayne Dunn

Empress O’Reilly was a clear last on settling and when asked to improve quickly she ran into a dead end and had to ease. Tizso Wicked led them up and Down The Hatch settled at her quarters. All Sewn Up was held three wide next by Afleet Esprit and LexgetreddyCool Hero had a three wide trail and was pushed four wide as they bunched right up. Tizso Wicked left the fence clearly before the turn and Lexgetreddy took an inside run. Down The Hatch stuck with them and Afleet Esprit stalked just behind them. Cool Hero ran very wide on the turn before knuckling down to run on. Lexgetreddy’s run was short lived and Afleet Esprit darted through inside Tizso Wicked to grab the lead. Down The Hatch was asked for an effort and she dug in to challenge again while Cool Hero charged at them late out wider but Down The Hatch did too well. All Sewn Up tried hard and Empress O’Reilly was close up and had excuses. 

Follow: Cool Hero’s run was super and be forgiving of Empress O’Reilly.

Race 6: Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1000m)

1st Nordic Empire – Craig Newitt
2nd Stingray – Patrick Moloney
3rd Boomwaa – Kayla Nisbet

Plenty of takers for the early lead as Unperturbed and I Am The General showed speed with Gold Force kicking up underneath them. Nordic Empire jumped well from the inside gate and Boomwaa was handy as usual. Stingraywas fast out but eased to worse than midfield. Illustrious Lad was just off the leading bunch. They bunched a little before the turn as a couple of runs started to come from the back but Gold Force still held the lead. I Am The General started to struggle and wobbled a few horses out and that presented a run for Nordic Empire. Unperturbed also found it tough and Boomwaa peeled out to try and run on. Wider were Stingray and Just For Starters sweeping home. Nordic Empire pounced on Gold Force at the 200m. I Am The General raised another effort but was just reeled in by Boomwaa and Stingray with the latter grabbing second. Gold Force weakened late and not a bad run from Grande Rosso who didn’t have a lot of luck early in the straight but finished okay. Not a 1000m horse.

Follow: Nordic Empire might be a nice horse. Like to see Grande Rosso over more ground.

Race 7: 1print Handicap (1200m)

1st Under The Louvre – Nick Hall
2nd Hard Stride – Damien Lane
3rd Play Master – Craig Newitt

Hard Stride made a mistake at the start and was last early before passing a couple. Mr Make Believe worked across from his outside alley to find the front with Sea Lord much handier this time and It’s Poet’s Day inside them.Alpha Proxima and Oh Teary Me were next. Hard Stride wound up third last on the fence and the other favourite Under The Louvre was basically last. Mr Make Believe led off the fence with Sea Lord and It’s Poet’s Day close up. About the 600m Play Master was dug up and took advantage of an inside run to shoot through and join the lead before the turn though wanting to hang. Hard Stride had worked through the field to be behind Mr Make Believe and inside Sea Lord. Under The Louvre came to the centre of the track. Play Master led to the 100m but Hard Stride got the split to chase him. Under The Louvre had the momentum up, though and swept on by to win running away. No luck Hard Stride in another consistent run and Play Master is a big track horse so his run was solid (aided by a clever ride). Academy Jack got home late for fourth and he didn’t have a lot of luck either. That said he’s only won once in the last two years. Better run from Sea Lord but he still has some improving to do.

Follow: the three placegetters.

Race 8: Jeep Don’t Hold Back Handicap (1600m)

1st The Cleaner – Noel Callow
2nd Fast And Free – Jackie Beriman
3rd First Course – Stephen Baster

The Cleaner jumped well and looked likely to get a comfortable lead but First Course went with him. Tristram’s Sun settled third, some four lengths away, and Fast And Free was next. Eigelstein followed him and Road Warriorraced to his inside. The Cleaner did hold the lead but First Course stayed right on his hammer, and they opened up a huge lead midrace of at least 10 lengths. First Course then moved up outside The Cleaner to pour more pressure on. A furlong back Fast And Free moved into third inside Tristram’s Sun who didn’t seem to like chasing the tearaways. Eigelstein was under pressure as were those behind him. The Cleaner eventually shook First Course off coming to the turn and was a few horses off the rails. Fast And Free started to loom a couple of lengths away from a battling Tristram’s Sun and Blackie. Fast And Free looked to have The Cleaner covered coming to the 100m but The Cleaner refused to give in and was pulling away on the line for a magnificent win. First Course did a huge job to hold on for third. Blackie held on for fourth and Fulgur ran on very late but probably lost sight of the leaders. Absolutely no excuses for anything behind the winner.

Follow: none.

Race 9: Sportingbet Handicap (1600m)

1st Jessy Belle – Chris Symons
2nd Atlantis Dream – Josh Cartwright
3rd Acapela – James Winks

Jessy Belle was first out and went straight to the lead. Delta Whiskey sat up second with Lady Melksham in the box seat. Rememba Howe looked to be pulling in fourth place followed by AcapelaAtlantis Dream settled last about 10 lengths off the leader. Rememba Howe pulled her way up three wide midrace and went to the lead but Jessy Belle held her ground to that mare’s inside. Danish Whiskey let them go and Acapela moved a little closer. Atlantis Dream had passed one but the field bunched considerably. Coming to the turn Jessy Belle was asked to go and she dashed through to regain the lead on the inside from the weakening Rememba Howe. Acapela loomed up and Atlantis Dream was following her. Lady Melksham stuck to the inside to make ground under pressure. Jessy Belle safely held Acapela at bay and had almost a length to spare on Atlantis Dream, who did well to run second in a sprint home, and a nice run from Acapela. The rest had their chance and only note is Rememba Howe pulled herself into the ground.

Follow: there might be a win in Acapela in a truly run race.

Specials from the meeting: Count Encosta, Cool Hero, Nordic Empire.