The Melbourne Mail: Moonee Valley - 20th August 2022

We're back to the Valley for the McKenzie Stakes which may just throw up some Guineas clues.


Eight of the McKenzie ten hold a Guineas entry - check out our feature runner nominations page here - and two of them, Foujita Sun and Let'srollthedice, sit high up early markets.  

That pair are both fairly likely types, both are rated over 100 already and right up around a level that typically wins the McKenzie, but both come up short enough in early markets and make limited betting appeal.  

For a bet we roll on to one of the weakest races on the card but one that throws up a nice favourite in The Garden who can be backed at 3/1. 

It's not that the race lacks lightly-raced horses. The Garden is one of five to have had less than a dozen starts, but none have shown obvious signs that they are better than this company outside of The Garden. 

That might be a touch harsh on the likes of Chartres and Sixbysixtythree but the former will likely be better seen over further than 6 f and the latter will come here with the map men offside. 

The Garden has neither of those problems. He has plenty of pace for 6 f and a barrier to make use of Throw in Ben Melham who is returning some warm numbers himself and The Garden's place at the top of betting looks assured.  

The stable might be some niggle. They are a terrific yard over the journey but have had a lean few months with their lone winner in town over that span being the twig hopper Britannicus. 

0.37 wins for every one expected by the market doesn't light up the boards but that is the short term. The long term is brighter and they should head back that way when they start returning horses as good as The Garden who has a string of fast times among a good body of work that rates highly for this. 

The fourth race is another that couldn't be mentioned among the better races on the card but it has our attention with Saracen Knight looking over priced at 14/1 and bigger in places. 

He set himself on the right path this prep in a fast race over 1 1⁄4 m that produced a stack of winners, himself included, before a couple of farcical tempos have perhaps hidden away just how well he is going. 

Saracen Knight looks at least as good as ever, perhaps even a touch better now, and while others have similar numbers and more upside, none look as appealing priced - particularly with the perfect draw for one away from the front of the market.  

Rocks or diamonds from the inside alley. It's a gamble worth taking. 


Bet Of The Day: Race 9 #6 The Garden @ $4.00

Each Way Play: Race 4 #2 Saracen Knight @ $15.00


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