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Moir Stakes preview

The biggest non-racing sporting event of the year takes place in Melbourne this weekend, the AFL Grand Final, which moves metropolitan racing to Friday night at Moonee Valley and Sunday at Caulfield. So we get the rare treat of a Group 1 night race. The big sprint race of the weekend takes place at the Valley, and the preview is provided by regular contributor Lara Pocock. Follow her @lara_pocock or read her blog.

For a formguide to this race, visit Racenet.

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Moir Stakes

The 1200 metres Moir Stakes will be run at Group One level for the first time this evening at Moonee Valley and will feature a field of ten, including a number of Group One winners and performers. The race will be run as the final race on the flood lit card to maximise betting turnover, a decision which has not pleased everyone.

1. Buffering
The perennial Group One performer won this race last year when it was run at Group Two status but has been unable to break through record his maiden Group One success. The six-year-old will be making his seasonal reappearance with a heavy weight of expectations but rightly so, he has an excellent record first up and should be in the frame to add to that today.

2. Epaulette
Darley's Group One Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette won the Group One Golden Rose last spring. Although he has won over this distance at a juvenile, the four-year-old has won all of his Group races over 1350 or 1400 metres and may not quite have the turn of foot to win under this distance. He is another making his seasonal reappearance, not something that should be counted against him.

3. Bel Sprinter
The well-being of Bel Sprinter, who spent longer than his trainer expected in quarantine after his second in the Group One Singapore International Sprint in May, is questionable. He finished second in a barrier trial at the beginning of September but the Group One Galaxy Handicap winner maybe worth watching here to see whether he is race fit however his first up record is immaculate.

4. Moment Of Change
Second on his seasonal reappearance to Kuroshio in the Group Two McEwen Stakes two weeks ago, Moment Of Change finished second to Black Caviar and Shamexpress last preparation in Group One races. The Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner should improve for his last run and is one to watch in the betting market.

5. General Truce
The dual Group Three winner General Truce is likely to be out classed here. He finished second in the McEwen Stakes on his last start having been fourth in a Listed race first up. His Group One performances to date have not yielded anything better than an eighth place.

6. Conservatorium
Another one who is likely to find this opposition stiff, the triple Listed winner Conservatorium is resuming this season. He was second in the Group One Goodwood to Platelet last season but has struggled to break through in Group company to date.

7. Le Bonsir
The six-year-old won the Listed Golf Stakes at Moonee Valley two weeks ago, his first start at stakes level. He beat the dual Group Two winner Rekindled Interest by a length and a half on that occasion and although he could certainly continue up the ranks this maybe a step too far at the moment.

8. Captain Fancypantz
Captain Fancypantz has already got his spring campaign well underway and finished third in a handicap a month ago. He is yet to record a stakes victory and is unlikely to do so today.

9. Snitzerland
A winner at the meeting last year when taking out the Group Three Champagne Stakes, Snitzerland won a Rosehill barrier trial two weeks ago. She finished second in The Galaxy earlier this year but has yet to record a success at the highest level. A leading chance to do so today if she can reproduce her best form, which includes Group Two victories in the Danehill Stakes and Challenge Stakes.

10. Samaready
Plagued by injury since her juvenile campaign, Samaready won the 2012 Group One Blue Diamond Stakes and finished third behind Pierro and Snitzerland in the Group One Golden Slipper Stakes in the same year. After missing the majority of her three-year-old campaign she proved she still had ability when taking out the Group Three Shark Stake slash month. She needs to step considerably from that run to win here but certainly has the ability to do so.

Verdict
An interesting race with many who could easily take this on paper. Unfortunately Buffering is likely to find some others better on this occasion, with the fillies likely to make the most of their weight allowance, with Snitzerland the pick of the pair. Moment Of Change has already won at this level and has put in some fine performances since so he is the pick of the field due to the question mark over the possible conditions of Samaready and Bel Sprinter.

1. Moment Of Change
2. Snitzerland
3. Buffering

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