Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The 2018 Australia Stakes takes place at Moonee Valley’s Friday night meeting and the updated odds plus our insider tips on the weight-for-age sprint are detailed below.
This summer’s Group 2 $200,000 Carlton Draught Australia Stakes (1200m) runs at an earlier jump time of 8:00pm (AEDT) as Moonee Valley Race 4.
A diminutive but class field of just six sprinters will take to the tight Moonee Valley track in the early autumn carnival lead-up and half the line-up is Darren Weir-trained.
Weir prepares the odds-on favourite in Australia Stakes betting Brave Smash, the Japanese import at a short $1.85 through Ladbrokes.com.au and looks hard to beat.
It has been 14 weeks since the son of Tosen Phantom ran an eye-catching third only a length off the winner Redzel in the $10 million The Everest (1200m) in Sydney last October.
Proven at weight-for-age against the country’s best sprinters, Brave Smash is also a previous Moonee Valley winner during his short four start career down under so far and is a good first-up performer to boot (5:0-3-1).
Two of his rivals are also under $10 in the Australia Stakes odds with Mr Sneaky ($4) and Thronum ($6) drawn in barriers four and three respectively.
High Chaparral four-year-old Mr Sneaky resumes after an unplaced Toorak Handicap loss to Brave Smash’s stablemate Tosen Stardom over the mile in mid-October.
Prior to that the Anthony Freedman-trained gelding was in top form, including a Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) second, so gets the chance here first-up (3:2-1-0) over a shorter distance.
As for Thronum, the four-year-old Snitzel entire is up in grade for the first time since his unplaced Golden Rose effort in September of 2016.
Lightly-raced since with just the two runs in November last year, the Lindsay Park-trained galloper was last seen crossing only a quarter-length back for third in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Ladbrokes Park.
In well weight-wise for his Australia Stakes bid, Thronum gets the chance to prove his potential and jumps from gate three with Mark Zahra in the saddle.
So will the best in betting dominate the results or is there value further down the Australia Stakes 2018 markets in the likes of Team Snowden’s smart mare Flippant ($9) or even Weir’s last start winning four-year-old Ken’s Dream ($12) for the upset?
#1 Brave Smash ($1.85)
The Australia Stake is a good race traditionally won by the class horse in the line-up and that should prove true this season with little value to be had with odds-on favourite Brave Smash the hard to beat favourite. Weir’s former Japanese galloper has a strong record down under to date and proved his potential with The Everest third in the spring. Goes well fresh, is a black-type winner at the track and in a predicted soft pace will be storming over the top of them late. Resuming over this distance on debut in Australia last August he was a quarter-length second to next-up Memsie Stakes winner Vega Magic, and he’s only improved since.
#6 Flippant ($9)
Good value to be had with the Snowden’s Hinchinbrook mare Flippant who is second-up here. She’s yet to race at The Valley, but the resuming second to Lord Of The Sky at Flemington on New Year’s Day in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) saw her go down a nostril flare. She’ll be fitter for the run and never puts in a poor performance.
#5 Thronum ($6)
Returning four-year-old won by five lengths over 1100m at Bendigo when first-up last campaign before the Group 3 third at Ladbrokes Park behind Jungle Edge. Has form over the distance and undefeated fresh means he should be a good thing for exotics.
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