This weekend in Melbourne one of the two feature races at Moonee Valley Racecourse is the McKenzie Stakes 2015 where the Peter Moody-trained El Greco is narrow favourite to win.
Set to run as Moonee Valley Race 6 at 3:20pm (AEST), this year’s $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m) features a dozen three-year-old colts and geldings.
Of the 12 in the field the McKenzie Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have Moody’s ultra-consistent Artie Schiller gelding El Greco installed as the $4.40 favourite in gate four with Vlad Duric to ride.
He comes off a second in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at Flemington from July 11 and so is dropping back in distance for this weekend.
Yet to run out of the top two with two wins and three seconds from five runs to date, El Greco faces a quality line-up of rivals and the next best fancied at $4.80 is the Group 1 placed Odyssey Moon.
Drawn wide in barrier 10, Damien Oliver’s mount is first-up for Scone-based trainer Rodney Northam.
The Snitzel colt was runner-up to Pride Of Dubai in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in early April during Sydney’s The Championships and returns to racing here off two trials.
The unraced Bryce Heys-trained Boston Light ($7) on the rails for his debut is the next best in betting, Craig Williams booked to ride the nicely bred Fastnet Rock colt who is yet to officially trial.
In an open market there are then two other single figure hopes both paying $8 to win with the returning Blue Diamond fourth placegetter Manhattan Blues in gate three and the Team Hawkes-trained market mover Vicious jumping from seven with Dwayne Dunn to ride.
With so many livewire chances it is an open affair in the McKenzie Stakes, so check out our insider tips below before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to place your bets at the bookie rewarding new depositing players with up to $500 in bonus bets with use of the promo code SPRINGBONUS!
#3 Manhattan Blues ($8)
Manhattan Blues has the right draw in barrier three for James Winks to ride the son of Manhattan Rain in his first-up run of the spring. He is running for the first time since a sixth to Jameka at Flemington in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce (1400m) back in mid-March, and has won his only other first-up assignment to date. He runs at Moonee Valley for the first time this weekend and how he handles the notoriously tight circuit will be key to his chances this weekend. If he’s fast out the gates and going forward from that nice barrier he’s a huge chance to hold them off.
#4 El Greco ($4.40)
Narrow favourite, El Greco is yet to finish out of the top two and that’s a record he’s set to keep intact here. Comes off a second at Flemington over the mile, so is back 400m in distance here. He has had one other run over the 1200m, which was his winning Kilmore debut back in May where he defeated Street Pride by two lengths. Was stretched going up to 1600m last time out so the drop back in distance should see him fly home with the right run from barrier four.
#1 Odyssey Moon ($4.80)
Lots of class about this Group 1 runner-up who kicks off his spring on the weekend. Damien Oliver is an ace hoop and will give this galloper every chance, but he’ll be pushed to his peak from the wide barrier (10 of 12). He is still a massive hope and a massive chance if he shows up and runs well fresh on the back of two solid trials, so as long as he gets cover in the run he can win.