Popular sprinter Buffering returns to racing from an extended spell but his attempt at a third Moir Stakes victory at Moonee Valley this Friday, could be thwarted by two highly promising 3yo fillies Fontiton and Petit Filous. The fillies head the market for the Group 1 feature at $5.00 and $2.35F respectively, with Buffering $8.00. Angelic Light, who finished fourth to Buffering in last year’s renewal, is $9.00 with G1 Goodwood Handicap winner Flamberge, who is coming off a first up second place behind Chautauqua, is the only other runner under double figure odds at $9.50.
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1. BUFFERING – D Browne (6) – 58.5kgs
The 8yo gelding is sticking to the proven formula that has seen him win this race in 2012 and again last year, and contesting it first up from a spell. Unlike those two years though, where he accounted for seven and four rivals respectively, he’ll have to hold off a full field of contenders this year. Loves this course, draws well and as always, is sure to give a good account of himself.
2. STERLING CITY – M Walker (4) – 58.5kgs
Former Hong Kong galloper who had his first Australian start for the Hayes/Dabernig team in the G2 Bobbie Lewis (1200m), running a credible ninth (3.8 lengths) first up from a six month spell. Encouraging effort from the seven year-old but he hasn’t won for a while and won’t find this any easier than his last outing. First look at the unique Valley circuit and it is hard to see him running some of these down.
3. RAIN AFFAIR – D Lane (11) – 58.5kgs
Been a long time now since this 8yo won a race – August 2013 when he took at the G3 Missile Stakes (1200m) as the $1.30 favourite from five competitors to be precise. Returns from an eighteen week spell here, will go hard early for a forward position from his wide gate but even around the Valley, the old legs will find it hard to withstand the late challengers from a quality field.
4. FLAMBERGE – V Duric (12) – 58.5kgs
Winner of the G1 Goodwood Handicap earlier this year, Peter Moody’s gelding returned with an excellent second to Chautauqua in the WFA G2 McEwan Stakes (1000m) here at Moonee Valley a month ago. Chautauqua holds the title of the country’s best sprinter at the present time and this guy ran placings behind Shamexpress and Angelic Light his only two previous visits to the Valley circuit. Unfortunately the wide gate has given him no favours.
5. LE BONSIR – C Newitt (8) – 58.5kgs
An honest campaigner who lines up for his twelfth start of the Valley, four of which he has won – including his most recent start, the Listed Carlyon Stakes. That was his second run back from a spell and could not be in better shape for a crack at this race on his favourite circuit but, the WFA scale and depth of this field are against him, and sneaking a place is his best hope.
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6. BALL OF MUSCLE – G Schofield (1) 58.5kgs
Look set to return to racing a winner when contesting the G3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) earlier this month, but the Joe Pride trained galloper felt the pinch under 59kgs late, finishing third to Shiraz. He led again and this time to the very last bound before being caught by Rebel Dane in the G2 The Shorts (1100m). First go the Melbourne way of racing but the Valley should suit and last attempt over the six furlongs saw him run second to Srikandi in the G2 Victory Stakes. Drawn to get every chance and should be right in the thick of it late.
7. ANGELIC LIGHT – M Zahra (10) – 56.5kgs
The 6yo mare ran fourth in this race last year, beaten less than a length by Buffering, which was in the middle of a win over Lankan Rupee in the McEwan Stakes, and a narrow second to the same horse in the G1 Manikato Stakes. Spelled after finishing seventh (3 lengths) to Lucky Hussler here in the G1 William Reid Stakes earlier this year and looks set to return with a big effort judging by her recent trial effort. Loves the Valley, goes well fresh and a solid speed up front should play into her favour.
8. GRIANTE – S Arnold (7) – 56.5kgs
The Good Journey mare came from last with a sweeping run to fall a head short in the G3 William Hill Sprint Series at Caulfield a fortnight ago, finishing second to Politeness. Big run last time out, here fourth of this campaign, and did run third here in the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) last prep. She’ll be giving a lot of smart sprinters a head start here though and fitness alone may not be enough to see her reel them in.
9. MISS PROMISCUITY – D Dunn (2) 56.5kgs
Sat on the speed but, like most other in the race, was no match for Bounding in the final 200m of the G3 Theshark.com.au Stakes at Caulfield a month back, her first run in eight weeks. Kept fresh since, produces her best results when she is, and has drawn perfectly in gate two but the weight scale and depth of the field will see her struggle.
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10. BROOK ROAD – B Shinn (13) 56.5kgs
The Kris Lees trained mare has been kept fresh since she rounded up the small field in the July Sprint at Canterbury (1100m) in smart fashion, defeating the ill-fated Burbero by 2.3 lengths. The daughter of God’s Own has had two trails this month, both completed well under her own esteem. Connections would have targeted this race and although she’ll be near last from her wide gate, look for her to charging late.
11. HEADWATER – T Berry (3) – 53kgs
Hard to imagine given his two runs back as a 3yo, that this colt from the Hawkes Racing camp was one of the leading contenders for the Golden Slipper this year. He finished well down the track in the G3 San Domenico and not even a month’s freshen up could spark him into action, finishing ninth (5.4 lengths) in the Danehill Stakes behind Kinglike. Carried 59kgs and 58kgs in the above two runs so will appreciate the drop down to 53kgs but wouldn’t be sure that that factor alone will see him make the improvement required.
12. FONTITON – C William (9) – 51kgs
Very exciting filly who tasted defeat for the first time in her four start career when finishing fifth (3.4 lengths) to Pride Of Dubai in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m). Pulled up with a poor recovery rate after the Blue Diamond and hasn’t raced since – almost eight months ago. Not seen at any official trials but has an abundance of ability and her debut victory here at the Valley was spectacular. This is a very hard race but would be inclined to respect stable’s decision to start her here.
13. PETIT FILOUS – G Boss (5) – 51kgs
Another exciting filly that after four starts, remains unbeaten for trainer Ciaron Maher. She’s created quite an impression, winning each of her starts in an in emphatic manner, the most recent being the Listed Cap D’antibes at Flemington a fortnight ago. Carried 57kgs but still manage to record good time and looks destined for better things, but this is quite a leap in class. Couldn’t have asked for a better draw here, it allows her to be positioned to advantage depending on the pace of the race and give her every chance to continue her astronomical rise to prominence.
RACE OVERVIEW –
As you’d expect, no loafing from the jump here. Just can’t jump in to the favourite at her current price. She is good of that’s there’s no doubt and this isn’t the strongest Group 1 race you’ll see however, would feel more comfortable sticking with Angelic Light each-way. She’s drawn wide but hoping with the good speed on up front, she’ll be able to sweep home out wide, just as she did when claiming Flamberge here at the Valley earlier in her career. The two fillies get their chance and are sure to be heavily involved in the finish with the best value runner for mine being Brook Road.
1. ANGLIC LIGHT
2. PETIT FILOUS