The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Mark Walker’s classy New Zealand-trained mare Imperatriz is odds-on favourite in 2023 Moir Stakes betting for Friday night’s feature under the lights at Moonee Valley.
A small but quality line-up of eight spring sprinters face off in this year’s Group 1 $750,000 Moir Stakes (1000m) with markets on the twilight meet’s premiere event firmly led by ultra-consistent I Am Invincible five-year-old Imperatriz.
The multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi boasts elite level wins on both sides of the Tasman and is undefeated at The Valley having won both her starts at the notoriously tight circuit either side of a spell.
Back in the autumn she was impressive here off a Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) second in Sydney to beat the belle of Moonee Valley, Bella Nipotina, in the Group 1 William Reid stakes (1200m) by a solid length.
First-up at the start of the month she was huge again this time putting 2.5 lengths on Rothfire to win the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) with improvement to come.
It was a magnificent effort over the short distance by the mare who has been kept fresh since and who is now sure to relish the 1100m second-up.
New Zealand jockey Opie Bosson is in town for the ride with Imperatriz drawn well in gate five.
Having shown such an affinity for the track and with only seven rivals to defeat she deservedly sits top of the Moir Stakes odds online at a short $1.75 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Outside of the hard-to-knock favourite a trio of other runners in the Moir Stakes field are also under double-figures for the win including Henry Dwyer’s early market mover Asfoora ($6).
Mitchell Aitken partners the in-form Flying Artie mare from one on the outside of the favourite with Asfoora looking to add to her strong record of seven wins from a dozen starts to date.
She is a genuine short-distance specialist with an imposing 1100m record (4:3-0-0) heading into her Group 1 test on Friday night full of confidence off a win fresh in the Group 3 The Heath 1100 at Caulfield.
Her autumn form was also excellent with close calls running third in the Oakleigh Plate a length beaten and fourth in The Galaxy before a trip to Perth where she ran fourth, again under a length off the winner, behind The Everest contender Overpass in the $4 million The Quokka (1200m) in mid-April.
The other Moir hopeful at a current $6 quote in betting is Uncommon James in gate seven with Damian Lane aboard.
The Cable Bay gelding hails from the Brisbane stables of Steven O’Dea & Matthe Hoysted and is another with a strong win record of six wins from 1- starts.
He beat Asfoora (3rd) home when overcoming a wide alley at the Sandown Lakeside track in February’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) before a second in The Galaxy and eighth in the inaugural The Quokka slot race.
Those same form lines look strong for the spring, and Uncommon James is first-up in the Moir having won his lead-up Doomben trial last month.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies at $7.50 is the rails-drawn Rothfire also from the sunshine state.
Robert Heathcote’s stable ace was typically impressive returning for his distant but brave second in the McEwen here ahead of the rematch on Friday evening.
He was strong all winter at home with placings behind Think About It in the Kingsford Smith Cup (3rd) and Stradbroke (2nd), the latter when beaten by the outside barrier (18 of 18).
Rothfire, now a six-year-old, has a 50% strike-rate from his eight previous second-up runs but will need to be good to turn the tables on the favoured mare in the Moir.
2023 Moir Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||285x2132x2||ROTHFIRE||Robert Heathcote||Blake Shinn||1||58.5kg||111|
|2||x400x9275x||THE INFERNO||Cliff Brown||Jake Noonan||8||58.5kg||101|
|3||x111x2128x||UNCOMMON JAMES||Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted||Damian Lane||7||58.5kg||109|
|4||2332x506x4||ZOUSTYLE||Tony Gollan||Damien Oliver||3||58.5kg||103|
|5||2436x885x4||GENERATION||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||2||58.5kg||99|
|6||452213×315||ACROMANTULA||Daniel & Ben Pearce||Craig Williams||4||58.5kg||99|
|7||48x11121x1||IMPERATRIZ||Mark Walker||Opie Bosson||5||56.5kg||116|
|8||1711x344x1||ASFOORA||Henry Dwyer||Mitchell Aitken||6||56.5kg||106|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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