The returning Team Hawkes-trained super sprinter Chautauqua is the short-priced favourite in the Moir Stakes 2016 betting markets to win first-up under the lights at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Friday night.
An ace field of nine sprint stars will face off in Moonee Valley Race 7 at 9:30pm (AEST) on Friday evening – the weight-for-age $500,000 Group 1 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) the first of five elite levels running across the long weekend.
Drawn barrier five, which last produced a winner just two years ago, is the current $2.20 favourite in the Moir Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au Chautauqua who has Dwayne Dunn in the saddle first-up.
From six resuming runs the champion Encosta De Lago gelding has enjoyed five wins and a second, the first-up flyer tipped to add to that fresh record on Friday night in his first run back home since taking out the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) in Hong Kong.
He is the deserving favourite, rated the world’s best sprinter and is undefeated in two runs at the tight Moonee Valley circuit where he raced last Cox Plate Eve taking out the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
The 1000m is also a non-issue for the now six-year-old whose exhilarating turn of foot has seen him win both stars at the distance to date.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has been signing the $6.5 million earner plenty of praises since he arrived back down under earlier in the year and rates Chautauqua the strongest he’s ever been ahead of the Moir Stakes.
“Everything’s been good. He’s been pretty push-button over the last 12 to 18 months and it’s been business as usual with him and he’s a happy horse,” Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his brother Michael and Hall of Fame father John, told Racing Victoria this week.
“He’s got stronger again. He can’t get much stronger than what he has but he keeps on improving and every other preparation it’s meant he’s improved again when he’s gotten stronger so you’re delving into uncharted territory, I mean how much better could Chautauqua be?
“He doesn’t have to improve but going on his appearance and physicality he’s done better again.”
Three of his rivals are also under $10 for the win in the latest Moir Stakes betting markets including the Mick Price-trained $4.80 second elect Extreme Choice.
Winner of the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in the autumn as a juvenile, the now three-year-old Not A Single Doubt colt hasn’t raced since his eighth to Capitalist in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in Sydney on March 19.
The last three-year-old Moir Stakes winner was the filly Virage De fortune (2005), while the last male three-year-old to take out the short-distance feature was Mistegic (2001).
Price prepared the 2013 champ Samaready and hopes for a second three years on with the classy Extreme Choice on the 52kg lightweight with dual Moir Stakes winning hoop Craig Newitt in the saddle from the outside barrier nine.
In a strike of historical form, barrier nine was also the gate Mistegic won from as a three-year-old.
The other single-figure fancies are the race’s three-time winning warhorse Buffering ($6.50) shooting for a record fourth Moir Stakes trophy after his Hong Kong flop in May and the Darren Weir-trained seven-year-old Lucky Hussler ($7.50).
See below for the updated Moir Stakes 2016 odds, betting open now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).