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Almanac Racing – Almandin’s return

After a winter hiatus, racing returns to Moonee Valley for a strong meeting this Saturday.

 

The fields are headlined by Melbourne Cup winner Almandin beginning its spring campaign, as well as the running of two Listed races, the McKenzie Stakes and Carlyon Stakes.

 

Darren Weir looks to have a hold on the opening event (12:25, 2500m, Hcp) with his trio of Yogi, Master Zephyr and Loresho presenting as three of the main chances.

 

The second race (13:00, 1200m, Mares BM-84) throws up a host of chances. Hear the Chant was running well in Stakes races as a three-year-old, finishing with a start in the Group One Sangster Stakes. It resumes as a four-year-old in this, a benchmark-84, with just 58kg and a good fresh record. I have it narrowly ahead of Fragonard, which might get the easy run from barrier one with Williams aboard.

 

The third race (13:35, 1200m, 3YO Fillies) is just about the most exciting of the day. Exceptional fillies Tulip, Limestone, Roomooz and Garrard all resume after making waves in the autumn as two-year-olds. Tulip opens as favourite, having placed in the Golden Slipper and run fourth in the Blue Diamond – its worst result to date. Limestone’s four starts had it as one of the main chances for the Blue Diamond, however it was tipped out for a spell after a narrow defeat in the Prelude. It’s been beaten twice – both times less than a length by Catchy. Garrard has a similarly stunning set of four starts so far, with one win and three second placings – to Houtzen, Catchy and the undefeated Shoals. As far as finding the winner goes, I wish you luck! There’s enough interest in to save me from trying to pick one to have a bet on.

 

The fourth (14:10, 1600m, BM-78) and fifth (14:45, 2040m, Hcp) races are competitive but uninteresting, except for Almandin’s return in the fifth.

 

The quaddie begins with the Listed McKenzie Stakes (15:25, 1200m, 3YO C&G). The top hopes will be embarking on a quest for, most likely, the Caulfield Guineas as we move into spring racing, and none in this field have impressed me more than Azazel. It had a fantastic two-year-old season, but resumed in top condition at Flemington three weeks ago, beating strong opponents over 1000 metres despite trainer Tony McEvoy making the point pre-race that they would be looking to run it over a mile this preparation.

 

Race seven is the Norman Carlyon Stakes (16:05, 1000m, 4YO+) at Listed level. Heatherly won this race last year in its first run after a spell and has been placed on the same schedule for this spring campaign. I thought its run in the Group One Lightning Stakes in the autumn was very honourable, and its record at the Valley is superb. At time of writing it’s about $2.30, which is short enough given the quality of rivals Missrock and Keen Array.

 

I expect Duke of Brunswick to win the eighth (16:45, 1500m, Hcp), however it hasn’t won at further than 1400 metres since breaking its maiden around the same time David Warner clocked up 150 before tea on the first day of Australia v India on the ninth of December 2014. Raw Impulse is the logical threat to the Duke, so there could be a quinella in the works there.

 

The last (17:20, 1200M, BM-90) is a typical final leg head-scratcher. The $9 for Queensland galloper Oberland was quickly taken once the markets opened. The early favourite is Oak Door, which showed promise last preparation but prefers 1400 metres and has never run at Moonee Valley. I’m happy to look for chances around Oak Door, but nothing jumps out at me. Mighty Like does look to be over the odds at $17, and Hay Bale can win if it improves on its last-start third. Go wide in the quaddie, and consider having something on Runsati at $61.

 

Comment below your thoughts on any of this Saturday’s racing. Good luck if you’re having a bet!

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.

Comments

  1. Today’s Warwick Farm trials seemed likely to be this week’s most important pointers for Spring. Some of the results raise eyebrows but I have not yet seen the footage. Any feedback?

  2. Reckon Heatherly is a big risk given the inside draw and pace from Jungle Edge, Keen Array et al. Think Missrock might get the soft run off them and finish over the top.

  3. Genius

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