The punters are coming for the Joe Pride-trained...
The big one in Melbourne today is of course the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate featuring the champion mare Winx, but our Races.com.au Moonee Valley best bets for the entire program are detailed below so you can clean up before the Winx show arrives!
Racing at The Valley kicks off this afternoon at 12:10pm (AEDT) and continues through until the card closer at 5:45pm (AEDT) with the VRC Derby types contesting the 2017 Moonee Valley Vase.
The nine support races though are all just fillers, with the sold-out crowd there for one horse and one horse only, Winx.
The champion daughter of Street Cry set a race record in 2015, blitzed the winning margin record in 2016 and returns in the 2017 Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) as the odds-on favourite.
She faces just seven rivals after the race morning scratching of Kaspersky from the Cox Plate field, and at her current quote of $1.16 through Ladbrokes.com.au to make it twenty-two straight wins, is the shortest-priced favourite since Phar Lap ($1.07 in 1931).
In The Big One (Race 9) – 2017 Cox Plate
#5 Folkswood To Place ($2.30)
Of course Winx wins the Cox Plate, but what finishes a distant second behind her? Happy to back the easing Charlie Appleby-trained international Folkswood for second after an impressive Listed Cranbourne Cup win first-up. Jockey Kerrin McEvoy retains the ride off that 2.75 length victory over the Cox Plate distance and from barrier four, fitter for the run, Folkswood is a genuine place chance looking like The Valley will suit his racing style.
Best Roughie (Race 1) – 2017 Inglis Banner
#3 Backfill To Win ($26)
An open field in the first with just three of the runners in the Inglis Banner non-debutants. Two-years-old races are always tough going for the punters, but the $26 offering on the rails-drawn Backfill is stupid. Danny O’Brien trains the un-trialled Sebring colt who is well-bred and gets the run of the race from barrier one. Blake Shinn aboard and can give these a run for their money up on the pace.
Better Than Bank Interest (Race 6) – 2017 Moonee Valley Gold Cup
#1 Big Duke To Win ($2)
Darren Weir’s impressive last-start St. Leger winner in Sydney, Big Duke was odds-on for this earlier but is now at $2. Remains a deserving favourite from the inside alley and is proven at The Valley. Last run here back in September was a brave defeat giving weight away and other start produced a win. Was runner-up in The Metropolitan two back, the dour stayer then carrying 58.5kg for his 2600m Randwick win last time out. Back to even weights, right draw, right track, flies home.
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change.
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