A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Moonee Valley track specialist Angelic Light upset the world’s highest rated sprinter at the course last start and will be out to do the same with another victory over Lankan Rupee on Friday night in the Moir Stakes 2014.
Mick Price‘s triple Group 1 winning Redoute’s Choice gelding Lankan Rupee started in the red at Ladbrokes.com.au for his first-up run of the new season on September 6 at the Valley in the Group 2 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m).
He proved vulnerable over the 1000m at the track off a spell however and went down as the beaten $1.22 top fancy to a $21 outsider in Robbie Griffiths’ bold mare Angelic Light.
The notoriously tight Moonee Valley circuit has proven somewhat of a bogy track for five-year-old Lankan Rupee who has had just one win there in a Restricted 78 sprint over 955m nearly a year ago.
One run later he was beaten in a Benchmark 84 over the same track and distance after suffering from the thumps, with his only other look at Moonee Valley being his second in the McEwen three weeks ago.
Holy Roman Emperor mare Angelic Light on the other hand has won three of her five runs at Moonee Valley, also posting a second and a third at the track.
She gets the chance to add to that imposing record under the lights on Friday evening when she starts as the second favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au in the $450,000 Group 1 City Jeep A.J. Moir Stakes (1200m).
The 1200m also looks the five-year-olds’ go as she has won three, finished second twice and run third once form her six goes at the distance.
She’s also a dual winner over the track and distance so it is fair to say the Cranbourne-based Griffiths has a fair bit of confidence going up against Lankan Rupee, who his mare ran down in the final stride last time out, for round two.
“We know now Lankan Rupee is not invincible,” Griffiths told the Herald Sun this week.
“We are not going there cocky, but it is nice to know she can hold her own in this company.
“And the 1200m seems her best go. We have always thought she is better over that trip than 1000m.”
Griffiths also has assurance she can be competitive once again looking back at her most recent run over 1200m when under a length away second behind Platelet in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville in Adelaide in late April.
“Her best performance before the McEwen win was second to Platelet over 1200m in the Group 1 Sangster Classic in Adelaide,” he said.
Angelic Light also came through the McEwen Stakes in top order, putting in a good gallop last Saturday and showing she was ready for the latest run of her Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“She ran fantastic work on Saturday morning and is in high spirits,” Griffiths said.
In the McEwen Angelic Light was ridden by Ryan Maloney from the inside alley.
Maloney stays on for Friday and Griffiths said they would be adopting the same get back tactics that proved so successful last time out.
“We usually settle and run home strongly, so I suppose we will stalk the leaders again,” he said.
While beating Lankan Rupee last time out was certainly a career highlight, Griffiths said that if the mare were to come out and win a Group 1 it would be the perfect reward for her patient connections after Angelic Light spent 15 months sidelined with a leg injury following her Robert Sangster second.
“It would be super for her value as a broodmare,” Griffiths said.
Under the weight-for-age conditions of the Moir Stakes Angelic Light will carry 56.5kg meeting both Lankan Rupee and the other headline entry, 2012 winner and last year’s runner-up Buffering, two kilos better.
Whether that will be enough to give her the upper hand however is yet to be seen.
“When I was an apprentice I was told that 1kg equated to a length. But I’m not sure about that at this level,” Griffiths said.
“The last time we met Lankan Rupee he was rated 118 and we were on 93 and that would have meant he’d needed to give us a lot of kilos in a handicap, but we get 2kg at weight-for-age.
“I’m not sure how much advantage that is.”
The Moir Stakes 2014 field is set for release shortly so stay tuned.
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