Flying young apprentice hoop Michael Dee has named the Mick Price-trained three-year-old Valderrama as his best ride of the day at Flemington Racecourse for Finals Day this weekend.
A nine-race card lights up Victoria’s premier race track and the in-form Dee has been rewarded for his recent consistency in the saddle with a full book of rides.
It is early on the program in one of the four black-types on the program where he rides his favourite horse of the day, Valderrama lining up as one of nine hopefuls in Flemington Race 2 – the $120,000 Listed A.R. Creswick Series Final (1200m) at 12:20pm (AEST).
Betting on the AR Creswick Series Final at Ladbrokes.com.au is narrowly led by Heat 5 winner Rough Justice ($3.70) in barrier three with Damien Oliver in the saddle, the ultra-consistent Wanted gelding prepared locally by Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra.
Hot on his heels is former co-favourite, Patrick Payne’s Group 1 performed Husson Eagle ($3.80) who beat Rough Justice home in Heat 3 but who hasn’t had a run since.
The lightly-raced Valderrama who has just his third career start on Saturday can be found further down the AR Creswick Series Final odds at $9.
The promising Bel Esprit gelding is the genuine market mover in the set weights plus penalties race though having been backed in early from an opening price of $12.
He has the outside alley (9) to overcome in the sprint, but is still a leading chance at a good price according to the Caulfield-based Price and Dee who has been full of pre-race praise for the horse.
“Michael has got a full book and just talking to him he felt that was his best ride for the day so hopefully he’s right,” told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He’ll have a nice stalking sort of a run and hopefully hit the line.
“He’s a nice horse with a future so I would not be totally shocked to see him win. I’m sure he’ll run well.”
Other notable hopes in the AR Creswick Series Final field and markets for Saturday this winter include Rough Justice’s stablemate Face Forward ($4.80), the Charge Forward filly boasting an excellent record at Flemington (4-2-1-0) and the 1200m (5-2-1-0), and the rails-drawn Illustrious Lad ($7) who Craig Williams rides on the back of a fourth to Rough Justice last time out.
Price meanwhile also saddles-up the favourite Irada in the meeting’s opener, the $120,000 Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m), along with the up-in-class Gungastruck from a wide gate in the same race who Dee rides.
His other best hope across the card according to him is Duke Of Brunswick in the $120,000 Slickpix Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m) – Race 5 at 2:10pm (AEST).
Carrying the 60kg top weight from barrier six in the 14-starter field, the Magnus three-year-old has only finished out of the money once in 11 starts and comes off back-to-back wins at Moonee Valley and Sale respectively from last month, Price believing the step up to 1600m to suit.
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