Racing: Moonee Valley looks safer for a punt

By Mike Dillon

Tavago will finally kick off his Caulfield Cup campaign when he starts at Moonee Valley today. Picture / Darryl Sherer
Tavago will finally kick off his Caulfield Cup campaign when he starts at Moonee Valley today. Picture / Darryl Sherer

Australian form expert Brett Davidson says Randwick today will be a near bottomless heavy (9) or (10). "Two days of rain had done the damage. It's almost a no-bet day here."

Which makes it interesting what Winx will do in the A$250,000 Chelmsford Stakes, if in fact Chris Waller runs the champion mare.

That leaves Moonee Valley as the main focus for today. Resuming since his outstanding Australian Derby win is Tavago for Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, who will run in the 1600m A$250,000 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.

"There is going to be some real pace in this race and that should suit him," said Natalie Young yesterday. "We've had a couple of small issues with him, but he's over that now and his work going into this has been very good.

"He's about 95 per cent right and will improve with the run."

The TAB opened Tavago at $20 and steady money moved him into $15 yesterday.

Former Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom, making his Australian debut, and The United States are well fancied to face Tavago.

Both have excellent fresh-up records.

The Moonee Valley surface, where expat Kiwi Michael Walker is riding, is expected to race perfectly today. The Victorian has done all he can to be fit and doesn't believe a back problem will derail his spring ambitions.

Walker missed last Saturday's Memsie Stakes meeting after suffering three prolapsed discs in his back the day before while riding at Geelong.

Among his six rides today is Suavito in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.

"I've done everything in my power, through Dr Zimmerman at Racing Victoria, to ride this Saturday," Walker said yesterday.

Walker had a cortisone injection in his back and returned to trackwork on Thursday and rode three horses.

"I'm pretty confident I'll get through, and through the rest of the spring. But it's just something I'm going to have to monitor and manage," he said.

"The reason I took rides is because I've done everything in my power, through Dr Zimmerman, to get my body right and we're all really confident that I'll get through.

"I can't hide away at home wrapped in cotton wool."

Walker said he felt something in his back go when he got to the top of the straight in a race.

"I couldn't ride the horse out. I was as stiff as a board, everything locked up," he said.

Suavito finished equal sixth in the P B Lawrence Stakes first-up and will wear blinkers instead of winkers.

"I worked her on Thursday morning and she worked really good. I jumped her out last week with blinkers on and she was really good so I'm looking forward to the race," Walker said.

"I look at the race, the way it's going to be run she'll be fifth or sixth and look for her to be swooping into it."

- additional reporting, AAP

- NZ Herald

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