Tonight Moonee Valley Racecourse will host the final Group 1 race of the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, the action headed by the 2014 William Reid Stakes.
There are 10 smart sprinters facing off in this year’s edition of the $400,000 Group 1 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes (1200m), which is due to run as Moonee Valley Race 7 at 9:45pm (AEST).
Of those 10 the current favourite is Samaready ($4), Mick Price’s four-year-old mare to get the run of the race from the inside alley with her regular rider Craig Newitt continuing his association.
Newitt has been aboard the daughter of More Than Ready for all 11 of her career starts to date that have produced six wins including two Group 1s.
The first was her 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes triumph as a juvenile, and more recently she smashed Buffering by four lengths in the Group 1 Moir Stakes at this track and distance last September.
Samaready is tipped to improve on her opening two autumn runs this prep, the favourite coming off a Black Caviar Lightning third and somewhat disappointing sixth in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington from March 8.
There’s then a log jam in the William Reid Stakes odds with a number of others hot on Samaready’s heels.
The other top fancies in the markets are last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress ($5), David Hayes’ exciting filly Gregers ($5.50), Surround Stakes winner Thump ($5.50) and then the in-form six-year-old Spirit Of Boom ($6.50).
So will the favourite get the William Reid Stakes result for the punters? Can one of the other single figure fancies get the better of them? And if so, who?
#2 Spirit Of Boom ($6.50)
Think there’s an upset coming from this Tony Gollan-trained Queenslander who, like Buffering before them, is so deserving of a Group 1 of their own after some close calls. They’ll have to be at their best to defeat the lighter weighted females in this but think they’re ready to strike third-up. Come off two seconds behind Lankan Rupee (Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap) and Moonee Valley should suit. Last time in the winner’s stall was October last year in the Caulfield Sprit and travelling much better than their sixth in this race behind Black Caviar from 12 months ago.
#9 Gregers ($5.50)
There’s been a tickle of money in the markets for this Commands three-year-old who has Group 1 experience having run a good Thousand Guineas third last prep. Really like what she’s done since then, including her second in a Group 2 at Moonee Valley after the Guineas. This time in she putin a solid effort when fourth in the Oakleigh (first run in four months) and last start second at Flemington in an easier race would have given her the running (and confidence) she needs for this.
#7 Samaready ($4)
The favourite really shouldn’t be far off them here and should be a definite inclusion in all exotics. She’s proven her class with two previous Group 1 wins, including the four length effort here last prep, and her first-up run was good. Left a little to be desired in the Newmarket but is more than capable of bouncing back especially from her gun draw, and is lightly raced so still plenty to come from her.
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