Horse Betting: Moody Lights up Hollindale
Lights Of Heaven is second-up today after an eye-catching fresh-up run behind Champion mare More Joyous in the G1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes
Timeform's Gary Crispe finds this afternoon's Hollindale Stakes a great way to start off the Brisbane winter carnival, answering some questions for connections about their runners and likely targets in the weeks ahead.
Leading Melbourne trainer Peter Moody, fresh from guiding unbeaten world champion sprinter Black Caviar to her record twentieth straight win last week in Morphettville is spreading his team far and wide this weekend with runners at Flemington, Gold Coast and Hong Kong.
Stable rider Luke Nolen, who will also partner King's Rose, will be aboard Lights Of Heaven, the daughter of Zabeel, which brings some excellent form lines into today's race.
She promised much last Spring on the back of her decisive South Australian Oaks win earlier in the year where she defeated subsequent AJC oaks winner Absolutely and Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed, but failed to live up to expectations as an early four-year-old.
While her Spring Cups campaign was aborted, she did show enough to suggest she can be a force in Brisbane after a maturing enhancing spell.
The one time favourite for the 2011 Caulfield Cup, Lights Of Heaven was unlucky behind Whobegotyou when resuming in the G2 Lawrence Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield, then failed to run up to expectations at subsequent runs before Moody decided to send her back to the spelling paddocks.
However, she was not far behind Littorio and Glass Harmonium in the G2 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington and was a close third to Descarado in the G1 Caulfield Stakes, both runs earning ratings good enough to be competitive this afternoon.
Lights Of Heaven is second-up today after an eye-catching fresh-up run behind Champion mare More Joyous in the G1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill, beaten just over four lengths. The most pleasing part of the run were her closing sectionals, indicating she has not lost that turn of foot we saw as a younger horse.
Lights Of Heaven will be improved considerably by that run, and although not at her top yet I can see her being handy throughout in a race that looks to be lacking serious early pace. If she runs close to her Timeform 117 rating today she should be right in the finish.
Shez Sinsational has been in great form in New Zealand, winning three of her last four starts including two at G1 level, the weight-for-age International Stakes (2000m) and the Auckland Cup (3200m).
Given a short break of 45 days after winning the Auckland Cup, Shez Sinsational scored impressively over 1400m at Tauranga under handicap conditions last time out, a run that will have her close to peak form this afternoon.
This mare raced well in Brisbane last winter, placing in both the QTC Oaks and Queensland Derby, so I would expect her to settle in very quickly to her new surroundings for this campaign. In an interesting riding move, former leading New Zealand rider Oppie Bosson, now domiciled in Singapore, is making a special trip back to Australia to partner the mare in this afternoon's feature.
Timeform rated 118, Shez Sinsational has an adaptable running style and looks certain to prove hard to hold out.
Imported galloper Mawingo faces a bigger test today than when an impressive fresh-up winner on his Australian debut at Flemington three weeks ago.
On that occasion, Mawingo had too much class for off-season open-class rivals over 1600m, seemingly winning with plenty in hand.
However, today he faces G2 weight-for-age company over 1800m, and a rise in weight, class and distance from his debut win, but he does have a touch of quality and cannot be underestimated. On track for a Cups campaign later in the year, Mawingo will have a light campaign before a spell but today's race will tell connections much about just where he should race in terms of Cups qualifying conditions.
Both have winning claims.
Wall Street, Timeform rated 123 on best form, has not won for 546 days. He put in his worst run in twelve months last start in the G1 Doncaster Handicap over 1600m at Randwick, but prior to that had been racing well during the Sydney and Melbourne Autumn carnivals.
A return to the form, that saw him run fourth in the G1 Cox Plate last year behind Pinker Pinker, sees him in the finish here, but the fact that he has never won or placed the right-handed way of going from five starts, combined with his long time absence from the winner's circle, are concerns.
Multiple group one winner Scenic Shot, Timeform rated 122, seems to be progressing well this campaign, improving his ratings at each of his three runs back this time in.
He caught the eye last time out over 1600m in Listed class at Eagle Farm when a fast-closing third to Ginga Dude but does have a liking for this race.
This afternoon will be the fourth time he has contested the Hollindale Stakes, winning it in 2008, finishing unplaced in 2009 and finishing third last year. Scenic Shot is definitely a multiples hope again.
I am happy to stay with Lights Of Heaven as the big improver in the race and the fulfilment of that early three-year-old promise should see her right in the finish.
Lights Of Heaven @6.50