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Eclair choice to run at Moonee Valley

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Dual acceptor Eclair Choice will take his place in the $80,000 1Print Handicap (1200m) for three year olds at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Trainer Phillip Stokes, left, with one of his Flemington winners, Eclair Big Bang. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Trainer Phillip Stokes, left, with one of his Flemington winners, Eclair Big Bang. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Eclair Choice had also been an acceptor in the $35,000 Haigh’s Handicap (1100m) at his home track at Morphettville but trainer Phillip Stokes has elected to travel to Melbourne to contest the higher prizemoney three year old race.

“The prizemoney had a big say in it,” Stokes told AAP.

“If the horses are up to it we’ll always send them over the border.”

Eclair Choice is no stranger to Moonee Valley, making his race debut with a fourth in a 1000m two year old race there almost twelve months ago.

The California Dane gelding has been racing consistently during his latest campaign with a first up win over 1050m in a BenchMark 70 three year old Handicap at Morphettville on September 13 before recording four placings on his home track.

Eclair Choice finished third over 1250m on September 27 before stringing together three seconds, the latest over 1000m on the Morphettville Park track on November 15, and Stokes believes it is time to give him a chance to head back to Melbourne.

“He’s in good order, he’s been to Moonee Valley before, so that’s a plus,” Stokes said.

“He’s been running into smart horses over here like Lord Aspen, but this looks a nice race for him.”

Eclair Choice has drawn barrier three in the six horse field with Stokes snapping up top Melbourne jockey Luke Nolen to take the ride.

Eclair Choice has been given 58.5kgs at Moonee Valley and will be coming up against the Chis Waller trained Thorn Park colt Bascule who was a winner at Warwick Farm and on the Kensington track in Sydney before a spell.

Stokes has been having an outstanding run of success of late and hopes his luck continues after saddling up a winning treble on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival on November 8.

The leading South Australian trainer took three horses to Flemington and returned home to Adelaide with three trophies after wins with Hucklebuck in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m), Eclair Big Bang in the $100,000 Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m) and Held Hostage in the $100,000 SecondBite Plate (2000m).

Hucklebuck also won the Group 3 $200,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington the previous Saturday on Derby Day.

“I don’t know how much longer we can keep that sort of form going, but they’re racing well and we’re placing them right,” Stokes said.

Eclair Choice is listed at $4 for the 1Print Handicap with Ladbrokes.com.au in a very tight market order that has five of the six runners under double figures.

Bascule heads the betting at $3 ahead of Eclair Choice at $4, Durendal at $4.20, Written Dash at $5.50, Bride Of Tokyo at $6 and first starter Hell On Earth is the outsider of the field at $31.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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