Darren Weir’s defending champion Lucky Hussler has opened favourite in William Reid Stakes 2016 betting to go back-to-back in the Moonee Valley sprint under the lights on Thursday night.
A final field of 12 sprinters make up the weight-for-age line-up in this season’s $500,000 Group 1 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m), which is due to run as Moonee Valley Race 6 at 9:15pm (AEDT).
To carry the number one saddlecloth and drawn well mid-field in barrier five, which last produced a winner in Miss Andretti (2007), is the reigning William Reid Stakes winner Lucky Hussler.
Last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival the Husson gelding won the race first-up from barrier two with Glen Boss aboard.
This time in the now six-year-old has had two earlier runs including his Magic Millions Cup victory at the Gold Coast on January 9.
Last time out Lucky Hussler ran a brave second beaten only three quarters of a length in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) by the winner Suavito at Caulfield in mid-February.
He’s had a freshen-up since and is back down to 1200m on Thursday, a distance he has four wins from 10 starts over at one of his pet tracks (3-1-0-2).
Currently Lucky Hussler pays $3.50 in the William Reid Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au as he looks to become the first favourite to salute for the punters in the race since Black Caviar for her second in 2013.
Following closely in William Reid Stakes betting at $4 is Holler in barrier seven, the John O’Shea-trained Commands colt coming off a one and a quarter-length win in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 5 at Randwick.
The three-year-olds’ last foray at Moonee Valley produced a Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) success in January.
James McDonald rides Holler in the William Reid as the Godolphin-raced galloper looks to become the first of his age to win the feature since Foxwedge (2012) who was also trained by O’Shea.
Two other runners are also under double figures for the win with the Chris Waller-trained Coolmore Stud Stakes winner from the spring at Flemington over the distance Japonisme ($6) drawn wide in barrier 11 and fellow three-year-old Kinglike ($8) for Peter Moody who prepared Black Caviar for her 2011 and 2013 wins.
Hugh Bowman rides Japonisme who is looking to become the first William Reid Stakes winner to get the job done from a double figure barrier at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley track since Toledo (10 of 10 in 2002).
A three-year-old son of Choisir, Japonisme is yet to run at the course but was far from disgraced last time out when crossing just over a length away fifth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 12.
The Newmarket Handicap has produced three of the past five William Reid Stakes winners.
Exceed And Excel colt Kinglike meanwhile comes off a Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) second to English in Sydney from the start of the month, the lightly-raced youngster undefeated over 1200m with two wins from as many starts to date.
Other notable hopes at more generous odds include Oakleigh Plate winner Flamberge ($11) in barrier two that Lucky Hussler (2015) won from last year and upset Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback ($16) out to complete the double last achieved by Black Caviar (2011).
See below for the full William Reid Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and current Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au!