This week's edition of Wizard's Early Mail is coming live from Darwin, where, as might be expected, the weather is hot and the track is dry for those interested in having a bet on the Palmerston Sprint meeting on Saturday or the Darwin Cup meeting on Monday. In contrast the maximum temperature predicted in Melbourne for the next three days is a cool 16 degrees.
The track at Moonee Valley for Saturday's meeting is currently rated a slow 7, but with little prospect of significant rain over the next few days an upgrade is a distinct possibility. As there have been no meetings held at Moonee Valley in recent times, and with the rail in the True position, it should not be a disadvantage to be on the speed or near the rails.
This meeting marks the return to race riding in Australia of Craig Williams, who has been taking all before him both here and abroad over the last twelve months. With respect to the selections and information provided in each edition of Wizard's Early Mail, you should feel free to use this information in conjunction with your own thoughts and selections, to come up with the bets that you are comfortable with, whether they be win only, each-way, place only, multis, quinellas or trifectas. The different types of bets and betting strategies will be examined in the near future as part of our Winning Ways collection. Moonee Valley, race 1 Although only eight horses have accepted for the first 3-year old race of the season, there are no less than six last-start winners engaged, which should make this a very competitive race. Planet Voyage and King's Pardon encountered each other at Sandown just over a forthnight ago, with King's Pardon taking the spoils on that occasion by a short half head. As Planet Voyage has won again since expect the form from that race to hold up strongly. King's Pardon gave Planet Voyage 3 lengths start from the 300 metre mark in that race before overhauling him right on the line, so he looks well-suited with the rise to 1200 metres on Saturday. Carringbush Jack only won an Echuca maiden at its last start by a long neck, but the second horse Mulaazem won at Sandown last Sunday by 10 lengths, and Meliora, who ran fourth in this same race, has subsequently won by 4 lengths, further franking the form of Carringbush Jack. Luke Nolen is taking a short break from riding after winning the Melbourne Jockeys Premiership in a tight battle from his great adversary Craig Newitt. Newitt will be keen to take advantage of Nolen's absence, and he has a great opportunity to win the opening race of the season on the Mick Price trained galloper King's Pardon. Moonee Valley, race 4 This is quite a good field of established mares which includes The Long Road, Orchard Street and Rock Princess, all last-start winners. The up-and-comer of this race, however, is Imoto who has just turned four. After winning an Echuca maiden by 7 lengths, Imoto followed this up with a 3.5 length thrashing of her rivals at Flemington against 3-year old fillies. Imoto did not perform at that level at Flemington a fortnight later when beaten 3 lengths by Dayita, although she did fight on well to take third place. Although the best price currently available appears very short ($2.20 with Centrebet), with Glen Boss to ride from barrier 1, expect the Mick Price trained Imoto to bounce back to her best here and win race 4 of the card. Moonee Valley, race 7 The most interesting runner of the day appears in this 1000 metre open sprint race in the form of One Last Dance. This Peter Moody trained mare has not run for 539 days, but as we witnessed a fortnight ago when Golden Archer won brilliantly after a long spell, nothing seems to be beyond this training powerhouse. After three victories from her first three starts, One Last Dance was equal favourite with Sepoy to win the 2010 Blue Diamond Stakes, but fate cruelled her chance to win that prestigious race subsequently won by Sepoy, and from starting again until now. This race also sees the reappearance of Group 1 winner Eagle Falls, and with Canali, Unanimously, Beyond Pardon, Broken, Galbraith and Freereturn also going around it should be a race well worth watching. Beyond Pardon goes so well at Moonee Valley he may be worth a small investment, but this race completely revolves around the first-up performance of One Last Dance. Doomben, race 8 A rare foray into Brisbane racing by the Wizard of the Turf has Startsmeup coming up as an almost-certain winner; however the odds are very short with $1.85 on TAB Sportsbet currently the best available. As he was in a similar Class 6 set weight race on Ipswich Cup day, Startsmeup again looks a good-thing to win this race. Despite starting from the outside barrier, with only 56kg to carry against this mediocre opposition, and having an excellent Doomben record, expect Startsmeup to be too good. War Charm is a very promising horse at his best but he has not been performing at that level this preparation; with Chris Munce to ride however, he could be the main danger if there is one. The two best bets of the day appear to be Imoto in race 4 at Moonee Valley, and Startsmeup in race 8 at Doomben. Both however are very short, so taking them in an all-up or a multi bet may be the better option.