Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
The Australia Stakes 2017 lights up Moonee Valley Racecourse tonight as one of the early autumn Group feature races and below are our insider betting tips plus updated odds on the event.
Due to jump as Moonee Valley Race 7 at 9:30pm (AEDT), the field for this season’s $200,000 Group 2 Browns Sawdust & Shavings Australia Stakes (1200m) is down to nine runners after the early scratching of Cavaloce (10).
Heading the latest Australia Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au – who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the race (T&Cs apply) – at $2.80 is Black Heart Bart.
Darren Weir’s three-time Group 1 winner has elite level form at this distance, but will be at his best getting out over further later in the autumn.
He is first-up tonight and faces a much easier field of rivals than he did when ninth to Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at the track last October.
First-up from six runs the six-year-old boasts three wins and a second so he flies fresh, and resuming at 1200m (7-4-2-0) in this line-up he could prove the one to beat.
His biggest dangers looking at the Australia Stakes betting markets shape-up as the early mover Chetwood ($4.40 into $3.70) for John O’Shea with the four-year-old chasing his fifth win on the trot and the spring’s Darley Classic winner Malaguerra ($3.80).
So will Black Heart Bart salute for the punters or is there an upset Australia Stakes result pending?
#3 Malaguerra ($3.80)
Nearly $4 for Malaguerra is a juicy offering looking at the class and records of this Peter Gelagotis-trained five-year-old. His last run in late November produced a Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) fifth, but he was only beaten a length and that was in Perth. Moonee Valley is a test, but his 1200m form is hard to knock (8-5-1-0). A sprint specialist and won the Darley down the Flemington straight two back. BTC Cup winner over these metres in Brisbane during the winter and from five first-up runs has enjoyed four wins and a second. Small field, room from barrier nine, just needs to handle the tight turns.
#7 Chetwood ($3.70)
Think the bookies have the top three sorted and this progressive Godolphin sprinter can finish right in the money first-up. He is in gate eight with Englishman James Doyle over for the ride, the horse’s first at Moonee Valley. From four runs at 1200m the son of Exceed And Excel boasts two wins and two thirds so is a must-include with all Trifecta bets. Undefeated first-up (2-2-0-0), comes off two Sydney trials including a Randwick win on January 5, and was last seen posting a fourth straight win at Caulfield in Listed class last October. Won that by two lengths, up in grade for this but has earned a shot.
#1 Black Heart Bart ($2.80)
Don’t think there will be much in the finish and the favourite is as good a chance as anything at single-figures. Winner of close to $2.8 million in prize money and record at 1200m is impressive (7-4-2-0). That said, his last win was the Underwood Stakes over 1800m by 2.5 lengths so will only improve off what he does in this. Based on class alone can’t be ignored.
Whether you’re backing or sacking our 2017 Australia Stakes betting tips, ensure you get the right price on your selections for tonight’s Group 2 by placing your bets online with Ladbrokes.com.au.
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