There’s a big Group 1 meeting running under the lights at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley Racecourse this evening for William Reid Stakes Night, the other feature on the program aside from the sprint classic being the 2014 Sunline Stakes for the older mares.
The field for this year’s $220,000 Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) is on the decrease with three early scratchings: #5 Goldslick (3), #9 Angelic Lass (4) and #12 Jacinta (7).
That leaves a field of 10 facing off in Moonee Valley Race 6 at 9:15pm (AEST), the favourite of which is the Peter Moody-trained Floria ($3).
Like the favourite for the night’s Group 1, Samaready in the William Reid Stakes, Floria has the inside running at the tight Moonee Valley circuit having drawn barrier one.
A six-year-old daughter of Savabeel, she’s second-up here after finishing runner-up to Five All in the Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last start.
A Group 3 winner over the mile at Caulfield in her finishing run last prep, Floria also has Group 1 experience with a Myer Classic sixth in the spring as well as her third behind the Chris Waller-trained Red Tracer in the Tattersall’s Tiara in Brisbane last winter.
She’s also got elite level racing behind her from New Zealand where she opened her career, the well proven miler set for success here in her maiden Moonee Valley appearance.
Joining Floria on single figures in the Sunline Stakes betting markets this year are then You’re So Good ($4) drawn one beside her in barrier two and the Colin Little-trained Text’n Hurley ($6) out wide in 10 (now 7).
So are these top three the ones to back tonight? Or is there value to be found further down the markets from a double figure chance in the race such as Perth visitor Bippo No Bungus ($10j) or the in-form Coronation Shallan ($12) who is yet to finish out of the money in her seven career starts.
#7 Text’n Hurley ($6)
We’re tipping an upset Sunline Stakes result here and have the progressive Text’n Hurley to defeat the favourite. She’s drawn an outside gate but over the mile there’s room to make up for that. Last four starts she’s finished top three, including a win two back here at Moonee Valley over 2040m She dropped down in distance last start but went up to Group 3 class for the Schweppervescence Trophy at Flemington when runner-up to Bonaria, improvement to come off that especially back at the Valley. Also has the ace Craig Williams, who won on her here in February, in the saddle which is another plus.
#2 Floria ($3)
Think from the inside alley this experienced mare is the deserving favourite and the obvious danger to our upset prediction. Luke Nolen rides and they should get a lovely passage from barrier one. Will also have improved on their first-up second at Flemington. Hasn’t seen the track though so how they handle the tight turns will be crucial, and second-up record isn’t all that impressive based on their form around that.
#10 Coronation Shallan ($12)
Brett Scott’s Mornington-based Strategic mare is up in class here but deserving of their shot after some lovely lead-up form. They have won over 1200m here having taken out a race during the spring before the break. Returned at the Valley on February 21 running second to Metaphor, again over the 1200m, before stepping up to 1400m when third in the Listed Super Saturday Stakes at Flemington. Looking at all that the 1600m at this track should suit and they add a bit of value to the trifecta if we’re right.
If you still aren’t sure who to back and who to sack in the Sunline Stakes tonight see below for a comprehensive form guide on the race.
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2014 Sunline Stakes Form Guide