Weekly racing preview: Back The Hussler, lay The Cat
Hmmmm. Or is it 'back The Cat, lay The Hussler'?
I can see this keeping my mind occupied right up until Saturday when the Australia Stakes (G1) will be run at Moonee Valley, writes Kristen Manning.
What a dilemma!
Here we have Australia's highest rated horse, Weekend Hussler, fresh from a horror ride by Brad Rawiller in the Lightning Stakes down the straight at Flemington, out for sweet revenge.
I was at Flemington that day and reckon Brad only turned The Hussler's motor on with 50 metres to go. The champ didn't see daylight and I can't see that happening again on Saturday. Big Rosscoe McDonald has played his cards beautifully with Weekend Hussler this prep - a visit to the Valley 3 weeks ago to get him familiar with the track a wise move indeed.
On the other hand Apache Cat flopped badly I the Lightning. So much so that his regular rider Corey Brown has had to make way for one Damien Oliver to try and resurrect The Cat's dented and scratched reputation.
Olly is no stranger to Apache Cat. They've raced together 6 times for 2 wins, a couple of thirds and a fifth in the Doncaster. Not a bad record at all but I believe it will all come down to how Apache Cat feels on Saturday. At Flemington he was hot and bothered. The day was a stinker and he was more than annoyed at being there for the Lightning. Just ask the strappers of those leading horses behind him that day - he was double barrelling and kicking out like a miffed Carlton footballer!
If his attitude improves, and it just might at Moonee Valley where he is defending his Australia Stakes title, then look out. If not - lay The Cat, back The Hussler.
At Royal Randwick on Saturday we welcome the return of VRC Oaks heroine Samantha Miss in the Light Fingers Stakes (G2). There is no confusion here, this lass is a champion and will get some of mine.
It's just a question of price.
Sure, there will be plenty prepared to lay her, but is it a case of put your house on and get a house and shed back or will there be enough for the pool we are all dreaming about?
For a bit of value I think I spotted one at Flemington that will return a nice dividend - and pay for that Valentine's Day dinner we must have (book now!).
Steven King took Sparks Fly via the cape in The Vanity (G3) to finish third behind tiny Romneya. In the Fillies Classic (G2) on Saturday I expect Michelle Payne to have her perfectly placed and keep the great run of the Michael Kent stable going.