The last Group 1 race of the season in Australia...
The Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip is firming favourite in AJ Moir Stakes 2019 betting for tonight’s feature race at The Valley with the potential The Everest contender looking to continue his good record at the iconic track.
A sensational edition of the Group 1 $1 million Moir Stakes (1000m) is set to run as Moonee Valley Race 7 at 9:30pm (AEST) this evening featuring a star-studded line-up of 15 sprinters.
After coming up trumps with barrier one, it is Nicconi five-year-old Nature Strip into $3.10 at the top of the Moir Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au second-up.
The gelding chases his first victory since saluting in the wet at Rosehill back in March to take out the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
In that he defeated Pierata, Gregory Hickman’s Pierro stallion subsequently franking the form with a Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) victory that prep along with his last start Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) triumph.
Pierata is confirmed a slot in Randwick’s $14 million The Everest (1400m) this October and Nature Strip is out to put his hand up for one of the remaining slots with a big run in the Moir this weekend.
First-up he finished fourth in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) behind dual The Everest hero Redzel, a race Pierata ran second in, so the form is there to follow to The Valley this evening.
Nature Strip also boasts the gun Moonee Valley strike-rate with two wins and a second from four runs on the tight circuit, which he last saw when eighth as the beaten favourite behind Viddora in the Moir 12 months ago.
Despite the size and class of this spring’s Moir Stakes field, just two of the other runners are also under double-figures with current $6 co-second favourites Trekking and Sunlight.
The returning Stradbroke Handicap winner Trekking is the early Moir Stakes market mover having opened at odds of $8 before the big move on the consistent Godolphin galloper.
Prepared by James Cummings, the five-year-old son of Street Cry won three of his latest four starts over the autumn – winter season including Eagle Farm’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
He has had two official trials since, the latest at Rosehill producing a win over 894m in the wet, and tonight he has his second career start at The Valley.
His Moonee Valley debut produced a distant third in October of 2017, but the money is there for him tonight.
Sunlight meanwhile is another of the confirmed 2019 The Everest horses, the Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained mare having her rescheduled second-up run in the Moir.
The brilliant Zoustar four-year-old was to have run in The Shorts last Saturday but was one of a host of scratchings from the Sydney event due to the rain-affected track.
Last autumn Sunlight stamped herself as one of the country’s best short-distance horses winning the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, The Valley’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) and finishing third to Santa Ana Lane in Randwick’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
She also resumed in the Concorde Stakes on September 7 running fifth, which she is out to improve on here coming back two kilos and racing at a track she’s had Group 1 success at previously.
Of the double-figure hopefuls the standout contenders for an upset Moir Stakes win include the Joe Pride-trained Ball Of Muscle ($13) running in his fourth edition of the Moir, and returning Doomben 10,000 / Kingsford-Smith Cup double champion The Bostonian ($13) drawn out wide in barrier 13 for New Zealand’s Tony Pike.
Click here for the latest Moir Stakes 2019 betting markets on tonight’s Moonee Valley showdown.
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