Stars to Shine Under Valley Lights

There may be not be a Group 1 race on Friday night’s Moonee Valley card but there are plenty of horses who will bring Group 1 quality.

In what is the first night meeting of the spring, the likes of star three-year-olds Snitzerland and Pierro as well as sprinters Buffering and Tiger Tees will use it as a springboard to bigger events.


Pierro will have his first Melbourne test in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes. Photo by: Steve Hart

In the case of Pierro, he will get his first test in the Melbourne direction in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) which serves as his lead-up to the Caulfield Guineas and the Cox Plate.

But trainer Gai Waterhouse is not concerned with the unbeaten colt’s ability to adapt to Moonee Valley, electing not to give him a look at the track until Friday night’s hit-out.

Gerald Ryan-trained filly Snitzerland is undefeated from two starts this spring and she will again be tough to beat when she takes on her own sex and age group in the Group 3 Champagne Stakes (1200m).

After leading in her first-up win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m), the daughter of Snitzel showed versatility last start when sitting just off the pace in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m).

An interesting clash has been set up in the Group 2 Moir Stakes (1200m), with Queensland sprinter Buffering joined by dual Group 1 winner Atomic Force and first-up Concorde Stakes winner Tiger Tees.

The Moir Stakes was not originally on the cards for Buffering but his condition has pleased trainer Robert Heathcote so much that he has given him a two week head start on his spring campaign.

Heathcote told horseracing.com.au last week that it would have been a waste to skip the $300,000 weight-for-age sprint given how well the five-year-old has come back following a winter spell.

“He’s like a ticking time bomb and was about a fortnight ahead of schedule so it just makes sense,” Heathcote said.

“It’s a weight-for-age race, he’ll be stabled five minutes up the road at Flemington and he’s ready to go.”

Also taking place at Moonee Valley on Friday night is the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) which is set to feature a number of stayers entered for the both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

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