A classy 10-horse field of sprinters has been accepted to square off in Friday night’s 2013 Moir Stakes which is one of two Group 1 races held in Melbourne this AFL Grand Final long weekend along with Sunday’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Set to bring the Moonee Valley night racing action to a close at 10:00pm (AEST) this year’s $450,000 Group 1 Programmed Moir Stakes (1200m) features plenty of starts including the reigning champ Buffering.
Rob Heathcote’s returning Queensland won the Moir first-up last year when it only held Group 2 status.
It’s elevation to an elite level this year however has ensured the now six-year-old Mossman gelding won’t have an easy task defending their title.
Buffering races for the first time since their second to Linton, who bypasses the Moir in favour of the Sir Rupert over 1400m at Caulfield, in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) back home in June.
This will be their 17th Group 1 assignment and Heathcote is hoping they can finally break through at the top after a frustrating nine Group 1 minor placings over the years.
The Moir Stakes 2013 is shaping up as the resuming run for a number of stars with the other top-rated chance being Peter Snowden’s Commands four-year-old Epaulette drawn in gate four.
Third in the Caulfield Guineas around this time last year Epaulette hit the headlines in Brisbane during the winter with their victory over Sea Siren in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) before bumming out in the Stradbroke when 10th last start.
Snowden however is confident they can become a dual Group 1 winner with a win here.
“People forget what he’s done. He’s a lightly raced horse whose a two time Group 1 winner and he’s finished second to Black Caviar (first-up last prep in the TJ Smith Stakes),” he told the Herald Sun this week.
“He’s done all his racing only in the best company and he has a terrific record.
“He looks in great order, he’s very forward because he’s done a lot of work and his fresh form is impeccable.”
The other big name first-up chances are then Jason Warren’s The Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter and the Gerlad Ryan-trained Snitzerland.
Bel Esprit six-year-old Bel Sprinter, nominated for the Manikato Stakes – Patinack Farm Classic double this spring, was last seen running a brave second to Hong Kong sprint star Lucky Nine in the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore on May 19.
Originally they were to be saved for the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at the Valley on October 25 but they showed Warren they were forward enough to come back early.
“He came back with terrific muscle tone which gave me a chance to push forward into this race,” Warren said.
“He’s definitely better over a bit shorter distance but he’s got an explosive turn of foot and he’ll still run very well on Friday.
“He’s still got a bit of improvement to come. Whatever he does will be a bonus.”
Runner-up to Bel Sprinter in The Galaxy at Rosehill back in March, Snitzel mare Snitzerland last ran a disappointing seventh to Platelet in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide at the end of April.
As for those who boast the fitness edge the ones to watch look to be the Peter Moody-trained Moment Of Change, Mick Price’s last start The Heath 1100 winner Samaready and their stablemate Le Bonsir who has won their first two runs this time in most recently over this track and distance two weeks back.
See below for the official Moir Stakes 2013 field, barriers and jockeys.
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2013 Moir Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Moonee Valley Race 8 – 10:00pm (AEST)
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1168x1432x||BUFFERING||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||6||58.5kg||112|
|2||3113x2610x||EPAULETTE||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||4||58.5kg||112|
|3||x1579x132x||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Damien Oliver||1||58.5kg||110|
|4||131x2205x2||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||8||58.5kg||108|
|5||x631196x43||GENERAL TRUCE||Ricky Maund||Nicholas Hall||10||58.5kg||105|
|6||532x52212x||CONSERVATORIUM||Gary Kennewell||Joe Bowditch||5||58.5kg||105|
|7||2153163×11||LE BONSIR||Mick Price||Michael Walker||2||58.5kg||99|
|8||0x14141653||CAPTAIN FANCYPANTZ||Cameron Templeton||Damian Lane||9||58.5kg||75|
|9||11156x127x||SNITZERLAND||Gerald Ryan||Dwayne Dunn||3||56.5kg||109|
|10||11113x4x1||SAMAREADY||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||7||56.5kg||106|