The William Reid Stakes (1200m) looks a very even race and is a tough one for punters so when in doubt look to the jockeys.
Damien Oliver turns 46 this year, but Ollie is as hungry as ever and riding like his next ride is his last. Earlier this month the Hall of Fame rider notched his 109th Group 1 when he drove Grunt to the line to win the Australian Guineas.
Grunt’s win elevated Oliver above Roy Higgins and put him nine behind George Moore at the top of the Group 1 ladder.
Ollie again links with Guineas winning trainer Mick Price and will pilot Secret Agenda ($4.10 favourite) in the Moonee Valley sprint. The five-year-old mare missed the spring due to a minor tendon injury, but showed she is back to her best with a first-up win at Flemington.
The William Reid boasts some quality runners, but several are yet to hit their straps this campaign. Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign ($7.00) was disappointing in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m), but from a better barrier here she could play a part in the finish – and who can forget her barnstorming run home in the Moir Stakes towards the end of last year.
WHAT A WIN. WHAT A FILLY. SHE WILL REIGN. pic.twitter.com/kpYz4bGKTr
— Racing.com (@Racing) September 29, 2017
Hellbent ($6.50), second in this race last year, has promised the world, but is yet to deliver a Group 1. His close third in the Oakleigh Plate was a solid effort. He was held up near the 300m and with a clear passage may have won. He will go back from the wide gate and it would not surprise to see him get home over the top of them.
Rock Magic ($6.50) ran well for fourth in the Newmarket at his last outing. But the eight-year-old goes up 8kgs and is zero from three around the Valley, so the question mark is there.
Thronum ($9.50) was disappointing in the Newmarket, but looked a little lost down the Flemington straight. He won the Australia Stakes (beating Brave Smash) at this track and distance, three starts back, so improvement would not surprise.
Another three-year-old filly and Blue Diamond winner Catchy, is yet to show much in two runs this preparation, but blinkers go on which could sharpen her for this. This one’s tricky.
Secret Agenda 1, Hellbent 2, Thronum 3.