Winterbottom Stakes & Moonee Valley Races Review

Michael Kruse / 5 December 2018

Last Updated on 29 December 2022

Tide Swimming, Y’s, Voodoo’s and the Goat

Our good friend Ralph from has taken a deep dive into the weekends racing to give us a better understanding and insight into the main races that took place on Saturday.

This week’s racing highlight nationally was of course in Perth where the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) Ollie steered home Voodoo Lad in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes.

Vince Accardi had the $13 winner as his “Most Advantaged” on his race speed profiles writing

VOODOO LAD: He has had plenty of racing lately but he comes here off a 36 day freshen up and he is trained by D K Weir so he should be viewed positively.

His best recent run was 4 starts back at FLEM over 1200m in G3 company where he won with a very good best of the day 5.2L’s above the IVR BM performance and he only needs a repeat of that effort here to give this race a mighty shake.

The Weir polish is a big asset in G1 races, Damien Oliver is a proven big race jockey and the likely track pattern here should suit. Big winning chance.

The “Y” in Betfairitis and “Y” you should swim with the tide

In contrast to Ascot Moonee Valley pre-meeting seemed it was to be a very plain bunch of off season stock going around – a BM64 on a Saturday for gawd sake in Race 4 that wouldn’t have been out of place at Mortlake on a Monday – but of course we saw two dynamic wins from

The emerging BEHEMOTH in Race 1

And debut BROOKLYN HUSTLE in Race 2,

We’ll document the quality in detail of the wins in Vince Accardi’s December Sizzlers which launch tomorrow covering Melbourne and Sydney AND YOU CAN NOW CHECK FREE OCTOBER FROM BOTH MONTHS

My confidence was reflective of the standard chipping right down, (hence giving all customers a $10 voucher back for purchasing) but saw them OK with two wins and two (each way) placings from the four races I liked and of the winners they both provide the topics for this week’s newsletter:


I was pretty keen race morning writing:

Shokora Lachlan King • David Hayes (5) 56kg

$4:00 Is probably the one to beat if she can bring her best noting she started just $4:50 when last this track/distance which was a Group 3 fillies race in March, but was at the tail end of her prep.

This time in things haven’t gone her way including last start on Cup Day when not handling the wet track early in the day.

Her 5th here the start prior was very strong, as was the 8th in a Listed open Flemington 1400 relative to this. Key chance if the apprentice can make the right moves, and her attitude is right on the day

And of the race

Tricky sort of mares race with SHOKORA having to rebound off the Cup Day wet track – which shouldn’t be a problem – and MINTHA/SNOGGING off the murderous tempo Sandown 1500 which could see flat runs. As such the former each way looks a relatively safe play

However I admit confidence slid a bit with the price was officially $4:50 to $7 and up to mid 8’s on Betfair pre-race

Usually when I’ve been keen on a runner from that stable and it’s moved like that, the confetti is the outcome, (can you have confetti for an online ticket???) but on this occasion with the extra bonus of young Lachie King riding a super race SHOKORA defied the drift

So why?

Well the starting point is always that a pre-race market is always just a collective bunch of opinions, and on this occasion those opinions were greatly focused on MINTHA ($3:20 to $2:60) and SNOGGING ($3:50 to $3:80) taking up most of the market in the 9 horse race.

And they ran 7th and 9th (last)

In the stewards report “no abnormalities” for both, with the usual bullshit from one of the riders (in this case Luke Currie) that their beaten horse would be “suited to a track with more give” as in Victorian racing making the curator the scapegoat is seemingly too often the go-to excuse for participants and talentless media alike.

(For the record MINTHA had no problems with the firm Moonee Valley track when she ran a career PB in September 2017 in 2nd to HOUTZEN)

However the reality was both these favourites had run at Sandown 17/11 in this brutal 1500

The market focused on the “all important class drop” from a Group 3 to a BM84

I focused instead on how bloody fast they were forced to run remembering on our podcast the Monday after Vince saying he wanted to “throw them all in the rubbish bin” in his usual honest and direct way!

At Sandown to the 800 SNOGGING had been going +13.3 lengths above benchmark to the 800, and MINTHA +14.8 lengths above IVR benchmark.

That is insane speed, so just 14 days later Vince’s “rule of 10” screamed a big warning, which is anything above 10 lengths above benchmark early in a race leads to a flat run if starting again within 21 days, with the only exception being a very slow tempo.

Never mind any other excuses, those horses were flat as pancakes



Race morning the market had four main chances, and even though I had INVINCIBLE AL top pick at $4:00 when he was around $3:20.

I thought the smart/safe each way play was OUR LUCA who was high 4s writing of the race

INVINCIBLE AL probably has his right race, but is a pretty tight price considering he’ll get back along with THERMAL CURRENT and from there it’s Craig Williams on THERMAL CURRENT v a very inexperienced apprentice. Meanwhile OUR LUCA will be making his own luck up front and is airborne. KEN’S DREAM the market watch

And of OUR LUCA:

Our Luca Stephanie Thornton • Jerome Hunter(7)54kg

$4:50 Airborne with super sharp wins here at both 955 and 1200 with the former running the 2nd best last 600 of the day to win narrowly when resuming, while last start created sustained speed at 1200 and “fell in” with the 25th best last 200 of the night. Back to a 1000 is notionally ideal and gets “Valley specialist” Thornton riding.

(17 wins here past 12 months) Will make his own luck when others are needing it. Absolutely keeping on side

I get amused at thinking that you should die in a ditch to your personal assessed price race morning

In this case after assessing OUR LUCA to have a monster position in running advantage on the main chances and INVINCIBLE AL having the best talent, but it was impossible to have confidence in the rider – “Apprentice jockey does have very plain stats and he’ll have to get him right back and looping” – when you see him officially open at $2:50 and into $2:25 knowing a big tail wind would advantage him and nothing would have the pace to challenge him early, then why not swim with the tide?

Yes my website scoreboard is reflective of “Saturday morning thinking” with a conservative each way play, but why not adjust and chip up with circumstances on the day and collective market intelligence resulting in a shorter price than originally expected BUT a much higher confidence level?

The more – quality – information you have, the more you can ask “why” when a market is moving either way pre-race

To paraphrase American pollster Nate Silver, “Is it signal or is it noise?”

Michael Kruse
Michael loves all things all horse racing and has been in the game for quite some time. His knowledge in the betting space is second... [Read full bio]

Comments are closed.

What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit.

For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit