This Friday night Moonee Valley will light up with a bumper evening’s racing for William Reid Stakes Night, one of the key support races on the twilight program behind the 2012 Fillies Classic.
An ideal lead-up race for three-year-old fillies heading towards the autumn’s lucrative oaks features including the 2012 ATC Australian Oaks at Royal Randwick on April 21, the $200,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (1600m) has this year drawn a final field of 11.
The top-rated of these hopefuls and one of the four heading towards the $550,000, Group 1 Australian Oaks is the Bart Cummings-trained Empress Rock.
The Fillies Classic barrier draw certainly doesn’t favour the three top fillies with Empress Rock, the fellow ATC Oaks-bound Rahveel and Tony McEvoy’s Assertive Eagle coming up with the outside gates 10, 11 and nine respectively.
A nicely-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock out of Encosta De Lago mare Empress Jade, the lightly-raced Empress Rock has won two of her five career starts to date.
She was last seen breaking her Group maiden when beating home a similar field in the Group 2 Keweny Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 10.
Empress Rock also has experience at Moonee Valley having finished a close second to Glows in the Listed Typhoon Tracy Stakes (1200m) at the track last month.
Leon Corsten’s Zabeel filly Rahveel, meanwhile, hasn’t won a race since her Bendigo victory last September.
She remains high-up in the ratings, however, because of her eight starts and her two Group 1 runs when fifth to Atlantic Jewel in the Thousand Guineas and eight to Mosheen in the Crown Oaks during the spring.
Assertive Eagle comes off a second to Empress Rock in the Kewney Stakes before which the Adelaide filly ran seventh in the Typhoon Tracy Stakes.
The other two ATC Australian Oaks hopefuls to run in the Fillies Classic this year are the Peter Moody-trained duo of Torah and Total Attraction.
Of the duo Total Attraction is the better performer, the Nadeem filly having won her opening three career starts before running a credible fourth to Empress Rock in the Kewney.
Moody is out for back-to-back Fillies Classic wins at Moonee Valley this year following the success of his one-time Caulfield Cup favourite Lights Of Heaven in the event 12 months ago.
Lights Of Heaven went on to win the Schweppes Oaks in Morphettville while last year’s Fillies Classic third placegetter Absolutely ran second in the Schweppes Oaks before her win in the 2011 Australian Oaks in Sydney.
Other notable Moonee Valley Fillies Classic chances include previous Moonee Valley winner over the mile Two Sugars, the Michael Kent-trained Our Miss Jones and Anthony Freedman’s improver Outdoor.
See below for the full 2012 Sportingbet Fillies Classic field, barriers and jockeys.
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2012 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic Final Field & Barrier Draw
Moonee Valley Race 5 – 8:45pm – 23/03/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||10X321||EMPRESS ROCK||Bart Cummings||Steven Arnold||10||57kg||91|
|2||7714528X7||RAHVEEL||Leon Corstens||Damien Oliver||11||57kg||78|
|3||27X211172||ASSERTIVE EAGLE||Tony McEvoy||Nash Rawiller||9||57kg||82|
|4||1114||TOTAL ATTRACTION||Peter G Moody||Glen Boss||6||57kg||76|
|5||62X3216X60||TORAH||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||5||57kg||76|
|6||X91174X240||TWILIGHTING||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Dwayne Dunn||8||57kg||72|
|7||6X1112X0||TWO SUGARS||Matt Laurie||Ms Michelle Payne||1||57kg||72|
|8||2X42X3||OUR MISS JONES (NZ)||Michael Kent||Craig Williams||3||57kg||68|
|9||312X36||PRINCESS ROCK||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||2||57kg||66|
|10||6X17X6X451||AMETSIS||Russell Cameron||Jamie Mott||4||57kg||66|
|11||1X442||OUTDOOR||Anthony Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||7||57kg||65|