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Australian Racing: Star expected to twinkle at Moonee Valley

There are no fewer than ten meetings set to take place on Friday, including two metro fixtures, at Canterbury and Moonee Valley.

Race 7 Moonee Valley

Star Vega @ 6.00

Race 7 Canterbury

Diamond Diesel @ 4.40

Race 6 Cranbourne

Vonk @ 2.90

Star to shine at The Valley

The concluding race on the Moonee Valley card is a 1523m Benchmark 64 handicap set to take place on a good 4 track.

Top-weight Zamborghini is expected to prove popular with punters, having delivered a victory when racing at this Benchmark 64 level in a handicap contest at Mornington in October.

The gelding raced over 1200m on a good 3 surface that day and possibly found the wet track against him when never a factor in a similar contest on a soft 6 track at Sandown Lakeside subsequently.

The four-year-old was always towards the rear at Sandown Lakeside and Matt Laurie’s inmate is expected to want to race closer to the speed in this event.

A wide barrier is a negative for such tactics, however, and STAR VEGA is preferred in this contest.

The son of Lope de Vega was narrowly beaten when racing in a Benchmark 64 handicap over around this trip at Sandown Hillside in April.

A fair effort when sixth in the Listed Adelaide Guineas at Morphettville followed and, while the gelding has failed to shine in two starts this spell, they have both come over shorter.

The 6.00 pick’s jockey had concerns with regards his action when seventh over 1340m in a Class 1 handicap at Geelong at the end of last month and the step up in distance is a positive here.

The 30% strike-rate (11/37) of the Anthony & Sam Freedman team with their runners here in the last 12 months is a further positive and their representative is taken to return to form with a win.

Diamond to sparkle at Canterbury

The penultimate race on the card at Canterbury is a 1200m Benchmark 72 handicap event.

A good 4 track is expected for the race, with Shines expected to jump as favourite, having won twice from six starts in his last spell.

The second of those victories came when tackling a Benchmark 72 handicap over 1250m at this venue in July.

The five-year-old has made just the one subsequent start, with that coming when beaten just over two-and-a-half-lengths into fourth in a similar contest at Randwick Kensington.

Tommy Berry is a positive jockey booking here, but DIAMOND DIESEL is preferred on his first start since July.

Jockey Dylan Gibbons, due to ride here, was in the saddle when the selection recorded a near half-length success in a 1200m Benchmark 72 handicap at Randwick.

The 4.40 seven-year-old followed that effort up with a good fourth over 1300m at Rosehill two weeks later, with the pick racing on a good 4 track on each occasion.

The selection finished in the first four in all seven starts in his last spell and, having performed well first-up in the past, he looks up to resuming with a victory.

Vonk backed for victory

The Peter Gelagotis-trained VONK takes the eye in the sixth race at Canterbury.

The race in question is a 1400m Restricted 64 handicap set to take place on a soft 5 track.

The 2.90 pick showed good form when putting daylight between himself and his 11 rivals in taking out a 1400m maiden contest at Pakenham on his penultimate start.

The five-year-old recorded a third in a 1500m Benchmark 64 handicap at Sandown Lakeside subsequently, with both of those efforts coming on wet tracks.

The drop to country level racing is a positive here and returning to 1400m Craig Newitt’s mount is taken to register his second career win.

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