bet365 Melbourne Mail: Moonee Valley - 26th August 2023

We return to the Valley for a third time in a month with the ledger reading 1-1 between punters and bookmakers.


On July with the rail out favourites went winless through nine races. Only four favourites ran a place on a day where it was hard to make ground on a two-paced track that threw up several results that took some interpreting.

A couple of weeks of pre-spring sunshine on the course saw events play out more sympathetically for punters. Horses 5/1 and shorter won just 0.78 races for every one expected by the market in July. Come August, and round two, eight winners landed in that price range at 1.2 times the expected rate.

The rail pitches back out for round three, and those held right up will be at the disadvantage that they always are in horse racing, but another two weeks of pre-spring sunshine has hopefully hit the track evenly enough and hard enough to knock the two-paced nature out of allowing the best horses to prove as much.

The best horse in race four might be Legend Of Dubai, and he is feared off a couple of warm numbers in the UK and a reasonable rust-removing spin at Sandown, but Hennessy Lad stands out away from him and is much more likely to produce a new peak on Saturday which makes him an appealing gamble at any north of $3.00.

Third-up last campaign Hennessy Lad was beaten by Ima Shelby, who reopposes here and does so off another win, but Hennessy Lad has operated at a higher level in four runs since and, off a career-best last time, he looks every chance of going up a notch which make make like very difficult for the chasing pack - almost all of which seem destined to spend their days toiling in this class.

It's a good day to find a trendy each-way play with plenty of races tricky to price up.

One of those is race six for the fillies where 10 of the 14 (all unexposed) are first-up from a break. But when the going gets tough the tough get going as the great philosopher and punter Billy Ocean tells us.

A watertight case can be made for none but a reasonable case made for several at early prices.

Ethereal Star is one of them and she gets the nod as the each-way play as she kicks off a spring campaign that will surely peak over a bit further down the line but can start with a win without surprising.

Other than simply rattling off the form case, which is solid, a key point of interest is the betting around Ulanova last week. 

Ulanova was sent out 2/1 in the Quezette - a deeper race than this on established form - with Ethereal Star having been much preferred to her in two meetings back in New Zealand.  

Ethereal Star's best performance, second in the Karaka Million as second elect behind the smart winner and with Ulanova behind, is as good as anything on offer going into Saturday and hints at her having a better chance than the 12/1 being bet. 

Other little positive angles that we could bang on about include the continued good numbers being produced by Harry Coffey (+7 winners against the market in the last three months) and the big spring the stable had with horses with similar(ish) profiles last season.  

Ethereal Star's mum came across and won at her first go in Australia as well if we really want to go reaching... 



Bet Of The Day: Race 4 #7 Hennessy Lad @ $3.40* with bet365

Each Way Play: Race 6 #1 Ethereal Star @ $13.00* with bet365


*Prices correct as of 4:30pm AEST 24/08

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