Moonee Valley and Royal Randwick will host the feature programs this Saturday. The weight-for-age championships of Australasia, the W.S. Cox Plate, is the main event in Moonee Ponds, while the Group 1 Manikato Stakes turns a great meeting into a spectacular one! The Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes and the $1,000,000 The Invitation will ensure the eastern suburbs of Sydney are rocking for the punters. Join our experts as they outline their best bets on a super Saturday of racing.
Moonee Valley Race 7
Verdad is knocking on the door! The Justify gelding was beaten a pimple two starts back in the Sutt Stakes, and he was luckless at a crucial stage in the Caulfield Guineas at his latest outing. The step out to 2040m is advantageous, and I suspect he has the fitness edge over the majority of his rivals. Beau Mertens will have a menagerie of options from the middle gate, and if the gaps appear as they run for the doctor, I expect him to prove too strong late. The Victoria Derby awaits. Air Assault is flying! His last-start victory in the city of churches was first-class, and he has been screaming out for the longer trip all preparation. From barrier ten, Damien Lane will slide the big boy across the field, and if he is left to his own devices on top of the speed, he may prove hard to run down. The sharp class rise is the primary concern. Suggested Bet: Verdad @ $2.65
Bet Now: The Vase
Moonee Valley RACE 8
Imperatriz is in career-best form. The I Am Invincible mare broke the track record first-up over an unsuitable distance, and she tasted Group 1 success second-up in the Moir Stakes. She has put her rivals away easily in both starts this preparation, and she looks destined to keep her undefeated record at Moonee Valley alive on Saturday. Her record at the distance is outrageous, and with even luck in running, she will gobble up her rivals inside the final furlong.
Uncommon James is ready to peak. Both runs this campaign have been good without winning, and he finds his pet distance here. He will occupy the box seat from barrier two, and if the gaps appear on straightening, he may look the winner when the whips start to crack. The Oakleigh Plate champion oozes class, and his rivals can’t afford to let him kick freely around the bend. He will be thereabouts.
Suggested Bet: Imperatriz @ $1.45
Bet Now: Manikato Stakes
Moonee Valley Race 9
#1 Romantic Warrior
Romantic Warrior looks poised to strike! His first-up performance in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes was better than it looked, and he was brave late after sitting close to a frenetic speed. He was entitled to drop out and go back through the field at the furlong. However, he came again and hit the line strongly. He strips fitter, and his second-up record is too good to dismiss. I suspect he wasn’t fully wound up for his fresh assignment, and his track work since has been breathtaking. Any benefit or natural improvement from his Australian debut would see him figure in the finish on Saturday. I hope, as will most of the capacity crowd, that he reproduces his world-class form and sizzling turn of foot. Alligator Blood will lead them a merry dance on top of the speed. The All Too Hard gelding is currently winning for fun, and his victory in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes was effortless. The 2040m looks ideal at this stage of his preparation, and the form around him this campaign has repeatedly stood up. If he can pinch some cheap sectionals throughout, he will look the winner as the field enters the home straight. Suggested Bet: Romantic Warrior @ $4.20
Bet Now: Cox Plate
Randwick Race 6
#10 Renaissance Woman
Renaissance Woman was a brilliant winner second-up. The Reliable Man mare put the race away a long way from home, and I suspect she has plenty of natural improvement to come for the campaign. The step out to 1800m is ideal at this stage of the preparation, and the flood of early money indicates another bold performance. The Bjorn Baker trained four-year-old seems to have more progression than her rivals, who look to be dropping back through the grades.
Hinged is becoming costly to follow. The Worthy Cause mare is ultra-talented on her day, and her best form reads incredibly well for this event. She has had excuses this campaign, and her impressive trials leading into this assignment could signal a return to form. She needs to recapture her mojo!
Suggested Bet: Renaissance Woman @ $5.50
Bet Now: Craven Plate
Randwick Race 7
#2 Tom Kitten
Tom Kitten was an awful watch for favourite punters at his latest outing. The Harry Angel colt found trouble as the field turned for home, and he was entitled to finish towards the tail. The big boy picked himself up and nearly pulled off the impossible in the shadows, producing the fastest closing sectionals of the race. The step out to 2000m is advantageous, and he can sit closer to the speed from the perfect inside draw. If he sees clear air before they enter the final furlong, I expect him to prove too strong late.
Kintyre is too consistent to dismiss. The Hallowed Crown gelding has performed well in some hot-form races, and he is always thereabouts. From barrier three, he can camp on the back of the speed, and if the peloton spends their pennies too early, he can capitalise late. His winning record is the primary concern.
Suggested Bet: Tom Kitten @ $2.35
Bet Now: Spring Champion Stakes
Randwick Race 8
Roots flew from the clouds first up. The Press Statement mare should have finished closer to the winner, and she put the writing on the wall for a huge second-up performance. Her best form puts her right in the mix for this $1,000,000 pop-up race, and I suspect this has been a long-range target. From barrier four, she can sit midfield on the rail, and if she sees clear air before the bird has flown, I expect her to figure in the finish. Her racing pattern and style will always require an element of luck.
Magic Time proved too classy second-up over 1200m. She easily destroyed her rivals, and this looks like another winnable assignment for the talented Hellbent mare. The step out to 1400m is advantageous, and she seems well-placed in this company. The progressive type needs to overcome a tricky alley, and if she can avoid an early-speed battle, the fat lady could be singing before they run for the judge.
Suggested Bet: Roots @ $9.00
Bet Now: The Invitation
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