It may only be a nine-starter 2016 Moir Stakes field at Moonee Valley on Friday night but the race’s dual winning hoop Craig Newitt is still wary of drawing the outside alley with Extreme Choice in the sprint classic.
The runners have just 1000m to be first past the post in the weight-for-age $500,000 Group 1 A.J. Moir Stakes (1000m), and with the short-distance sprint held at the tight Moonee Valley circuit doesn’t bode well for those drawn wide according to Newitt.
This Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Newitt has that to overcome with his mount Extreme Choice to jump from barrier nine of nine in the Moir.
“It’s a tricky race, because there’s nine in it and seven speed horses, and when you draw the outside of them, it makes it awkward,” Newitt told Racing Victoria.
“At first glance, it’s not ideal, but if we get the rain and the fence is a no-go zone, it might not be too bad.”
Newitt knows what the race is all about having ridden Samaready (2013) and Miss Andretti (2007) to victory from barriers seven and two respectively.
History shows Newitt’s assessment of wide Moir Stakes draws is correct, with the last winner to jump from wider than gate seven being Mistegic (9 of 11 in 2001) who was also the last three-year-old male winner of the race.
Mick Price’s Blue Diamond Stakes winning colt Extreme Choice has his first start at the course and is back racing for the first time since the eighth to Capitalist in the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m).
He is unraced as a three-year-old, but as a juvenile won both of his 1000m assignments.
The last Moir Stakes winning three-year-old was the filly Virage De Fortune (2005), the bookies rating Extreme Choice a livewire hope to be the next 11 years on.
Current Moir Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by the world’s highest-rated sprinter Chautauqua ($2.15), the Team Hawkes-trained champ looking to add to some imposing stats stacking up in his favour.
Winner of Hong Kong’s Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) on May 1 last start, the six-year-old son of Encosta De Lago has outstanding records first-up (6-5-1-0), at Moonee Valley (2-2-0-0) and over the Moir Stakes distance (2-2-0-0).
Extreme Choice meanwhile occupies the second line of the Moir Stakes odds at $4.80.
He gets the weight relieve at weight-for-age carrying only 52kg, but Newitt doesn’t think that is enough over 1000m to catch up on front-running speedsters like three-time Moir Stakes winner Buffering (58.5kg).
“I don’t think he’s one that you’d be able to do that [go forward with light weight to lead], because you’ve still got the spring to go, especially first-up,” Newitt said, in reference to Price targeting the Coolmore Stud Stakes or Darley Classic during the Melbourne Cup Carnival with Extreme Choice.
“We were just hoping to draw a nice gate and sit on the back of Buffering, and have the last crack at him with no weight, because we know what sort of turn of foot he has got.
“From out there, at first glance, it makes it a little bit sticky.”
To back Extreme Choice in an upset Moir Stakes result and to access the full Moonee Valley racing odds and offers for Friday night head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.