A class field of staying mares faces off in the Matriarch Stakes 2015 at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne this weekend as part of the Emirates Stakes Day action, betting tips for the set weights plus penalties clash found below.
Set to run as Flemington Race 8 at 5:05pm (AEST) on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, this year’s $300,000 Group 2 Presto Matriarch Stakes (2000m) has attracted a capacity field of 16 plus two emergencies.
Leading Matriarch Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, where punters can lock in Best Tote or SP + 20% across the full card for Emirates Stakes Day, at $4.60 and firming is now the Kris Lees-trained Lucia Valentina.
The early market mover, the dual Group 1 winning daughter of Savabeel opened as long as $6.50 in betting but has since been smashed by the punters to win her first race since the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at the same track and distance over 12 months ago.
It may have been a while between drinks for the now five-year-old, but Lucia Valentina handles a mud track with two wins from as many starts on Heavy ground and with Flemington currently rated a Heavy (8) the value is in the noted mudlarks.
She is drawn wide for Damien Oliver getting her second barrier 16 draw from as many starts, but dropping back in distance and class on a rain-affected course should see her improve on her gallant ninth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) from October 17.
There are three other single figure hopes in the Matriarch Stakes odds including the former favourite Ballet Suite ($4.40 out to $5) drawn in barrier four with Cox Plate winning jockey Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Chris Waller’s four-year-old daughter of High Chaparral has her first run at Flemington and first go on Heavy ground, two big risk factors when it comes to taking her for the win.
Group 1 performed, Ballet Suite hasn’t won since May in Brisbane over this distance, but was beaten under two lengths last time out in the Group 3 Tesio Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
So will the favourites get the job done or is there an upset on the cards for this year’s Matriarch Stakes from the likes of Magnus four-year-old Manageress ($9) who runs well at Flemington, the rails-drawn Zarzali ($9) on the short back-up from a Melbourne Cup Day win over 1700m on Tuesday or even Casino Dancer ($15) coming off good Sydney form?
#12 Imperial Lass ($15)
Nice price being offered for Peter Moody’s in-form Tavistock mare, the four-year-old proven over the distance (3-1-0-1) and coming off back-to-back wins. She hasn’t run top three at Flemington before, but handles Heavy going (2-1-0-1) and won over the 2040m at Moonee Valley last time out carrying 56kg. Linda Meech retains the ride and she drops a kilo to 55kg on Saturday and with her flying recent form coupled with a good ride from the wide barrier, she can surprise on a rain-affected track.
#1 Lucia Valentina ($4.60)
Lots of money coming in for Lees’ $1.34 million earner and she’s definitely got class with previous Group 1 winning form at the track and distance. The 2000m definitely suits (5-2-1-1) and she’ll relish dropping back to it after a gutsy ninth to Mongolian Khan over the mile and a half in the Caulfield Cup. That was a much tougher field and this is her first non-Group 1 run from four starts, so she should handle this easier. Plus she has won both her previous Heavy track assignments so if the course stays as is, she’s a big hope.
#5 Casino Dancer ($15)
Another sneaky value bet in the Matriarch line-up with wet track form is this Hawkesbury-trained mare running in Melbourne for the first time. She needs to handle this way of going but a soft track will help and her lead-up form back home has been good. Two back she won the Group 3 Angst Stakes (1600m) and then crossed third over the mile at Randwick again last time out. Is up in weights but has run top three in half her 10 goes on Heavy tracks, this 50-start veteran still evergreen and out to impress.
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