The Melbourne Mail: Moonee Valley - 31st July 2021

We return to Moonee Valley for the first time in a few months for an interesting card with more than a couple of interesting and talented horses.

WHITE HIBISCUS winning the Big Screen Company Handicap at Ladbrokes Park Lakeside in Springvale, Australia.
WHITE HIBISCUS winning the Big Screen Company Handicap at Ladbrokes Park Lakeside in Springvale, Australia. Picture: Racing Photos


The best-performed horse on the card is undoubtedly Buckhurst who returns gelded after 280 days off. He's a 120-rated winner of a trio of Group Three races in Ireland, good enough to have started 8-1 in an Irish Champion Stakes, and he wasn't beaten miles in the Caulfield Cup on his Australian debut.  

He's a big name for a nondescript card at the Valley in July, and it's tempting to throw him up as a bet against lesser rivals, but he will surely be better for this one, with targets a long way down the line, and so through to the keeper's gloves he goes. 

Another one is allowed to sail through in the following race where a shade of odds-on (at this stage anyway) is short enough to let I'm Thunderstruck go despite an aawesome performance at Flemington last time which stamped him as a 'Group horse' in waiting. 

We will bide out time and roll onto the next, race six for the mares, where White Hibiscus lures us into playing a shot at prices around $4.60. 

To be honest, White Hibiscus has looked (to the writer's eye) a shade overrated by markets to this point in her career, and there is no clear and obvious reason why she would turn things around on an in-form Ghodeline from last time, but digging beyond that she is well handicapped on her best performance (her Sandown mile win last prep) and the stage may well be set for a return to that form or even a shade better now. 

The draw, and Craig Williams, provides a nice scenario for her to be a bit closer in the run third up and that could prove a big advantage. Third up is the sweet spot for Danny O'Brien as a rule. It's not quite a half volley wide of off stump but it is there to be played at. 

The first two races on the card are the final two-year-old races for the season and there could well be interesting pointers to next year with several likely types engaged. 

A big field of fillies includes Frost Flowers who looked very promising on debut before failing to go on with it last time around, and she is certainly interesting here, but it's one that finished alongside her back on Australia Day that appeals as a good each way play - again for Williams from a good draw. 

Duchy Of Savoy has had a run back, knocked off narrowly when running well at Randwick in a race that has thrown up a couple of winners, and while this will be tougher, she can be fitter despite 45 days having passed since. 

She ran nice splits home (though not nearly as nice as was officially posted at the time!) on debut and looks to have plenty of talent based on that. A race like this can be well within reach and while she is hardly alone as having upside here she must be as well set up for the here and now as any other. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #10 White Hibiscus @ $4.60

Each Way Play: Race 2 #14 Duchy Of Savoy @ $7.50



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