A return to Moonee Valley Racecourse could also market the return to winning form for Robbie Griffiths’ track specialist It Is Written in the 2016 Australia Stakes this weekend in Melbourne.
The Written Tycoon seven-year-old is one of 19 nominations taken for the $200,000 Group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m), the weight-for-age sprint shaping up as a class race on Saturday at the Valley.
A 53-start veteran, It Is Written has had 22 runs at Moonee Valley to date for seven wins, three seconds and three thirds.
His only black-type win at the track was in the 2014 Listed Abell Stakes (1200m), but he has been ultra-competitive in both Group 2 and Group 1 company at the notoriously tight circuit.
Saturday will be his third consecutive Australia Stakes run following a third to Richie’s Vibe in 2014 and his narrow second when beaten a mere neck by Mourinho 12 months ago.
Both of those past Australia Stakes winners, Richie’s Vibe and Mourinho, return on the weekend seeking another win in the feature race to join Black Caviar (2010 & 2012) as dual champions.
It Is Written also ran a brave fourth just over two lengths off Lucky Hussler in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
His latest run at the course produced a fifth to Reldas back in October last year where he carted 60kg.
He returned first-up on New Year’s Day at Flemington in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m).
Things didn’t go his way in the January 1 run down the straight however, It Is Written failing to beat home any of his rivals when 12th to Durendal as a $26 chance.
Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zhara’s progressive Medaglia D’Oro four-year-old Standish Handicap winner Durendal is a big danger in the Australia Stakes again on Saturday.
He shoots for his fourth win on the trot and his seventh win from nine starts over 1200m with the gelding making his Group 2 debut as a likely favourite in Australia Stakes betting through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Griffiths has had It Is Written targeting his third Australia Stakes run for a while and is confident he can atone for the Standish lead-up failure.
“This is the race we’ve targeted again for him this year, so hopefully we can go one spot better (than last year),” Griffiths told AAP.
“I think he’s going as good as he was last year. It’s just a bit hard to tell because he’s no good at Flemington and his lead-up race was there,” Griffiths said.
“Last year his lead-up race was six weeks earlier when he won in the middle of December at Moonee Valley.
“There were no Valley races for him leading into this and he’s a different horse at the Valley compared to Flemington.
“So on paper it looks as though he’s not going as good, but I think he is and we just haven’t been able to prove it yet.”
Trying to keep the horse in his comfort zone, Griffiths is likely to set It Is Written on the same path as his three previous autumn campaigns including a possible run in the William Reid Stakes on Thursday March 24, 2016.
“We’re going into this race (on Saturday) and then we’ll look at all the Valley sprints through the autumn,” he said.
It Is Written was dead last when 10th, albeit under three lengths off the winner Spirit Of Boom, in the 2014 William Reid Stakes before his aformentioned fourth to Lucky Hussler in the night sprint last year.
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