Previewing the William Reid Stakes Form
Australian horseracing fans will be looking forward to betting on the William Reid Stakes, in the final night racing meeting of Melbourne’s autumn season at Moonee Valley on March 24. The night run under lights isn’t the only thing that makes the William Reid special; the 1200m Group 1 race has a field restricted to 14 or fewer, and the tight Moonee Valley turns are a real test for the best sprinters.
It’s way too early to know the William Reid field yet, but Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield last Saturday featured two Group 1 races that punters will want to take another look at. The 1200m Blue Diamond Stakes is not one of them, of course: it is restricted to two-year-olds, whereas the William Reid Stakes is for three-year-olds and older, so Blue Diamond winner Catchy has another year before she is eligible.
However, the 1400m Futurity Stakes and 1100m Oakleigh Plate are iconic races in their own right, and they are also useful for spotting the champion sprinters on a winning streak.
Black Heart Bart Looking Strong
The $500,000 Italktravel Futurity Stakes was won by 6-year-old gelding Black Heart Bart, the race favourite at $1.90. With career stats of 14-10-2 from 34 starts, his win on Saturday was the second over 1400m at Caulfield in two weeks; he also won the CF Orr Stakes on February 11.
Trainer Darren Weir has not yet indicated whether Black Heart Bart will be entered for the William Reaid yet, but if he does make the final field, he is likely to attract heavy betting. Tosen Stardom, his 6-year-old entire stablemate also trained by Weir, lost by a nose in the Futurity Stakes, so he could also be worth a punt, if he makes the field at Moonee Valley.
Extreme Choice Falls Short in Oakleigh Plate
The fastest sprint on Blue Diamond Stakes Day is always the 1100m Oakleigh Plate, also with a purse of $500,000. Race favourite Extreme Choice, a 3-year-old colt with a 4-0-1 record in seven starts, came in a disappointing third. However, punters might want to try him again over the slightly longer race at Moonee Valley, as he was challenging hard at the finish of the Oakleigh Plate.
The Oakleigh Plate winner and runner-up, 5-year-old mare Sheidel and 4-year-old gelding Faatinah, will also be worth a punt, if they make the William Reid Stakes field.