Group 1 performer Moment Of Change will start a very short priced favourite in Friday night’s Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley despite drawing the outside gate in the ten horse field.
Even though Moment Of Change hasn’t won on the Moonee Valley track, the five year old recorded a second and two fourths on the tight StrathAyr Track last preparation.
The Peter Moody trained gelding was beaten one and three quarter lengths by Kuroshio first up in the Group 2 $175,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 14.
He then finished two fourths in Group 1 company over the 1200m behind Samaready in the $450,000 Programmed Moir Stakes and Buffering in the $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes.
Even though he failed to record a win throughout the Spring Carnival, Moment Of Change raced consistently and picked up two Group 1 placings with a third and a second to Buffering in the $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 and the $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 23.
Moment Of Change gets his best chance for a long time to re-enter the winner’s circle after not having won a race since taking out the Group 1 $400,000 Clamms Seafood Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the 2012 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Jockey Linda Meech will be re-united with the five year old after number one stable rider Luke Nolen has put off a return from a New Year’s break after taking longer than expected to get back to his riding weight.
Meech rode Moment Of Change to his first three wins and was also aboard the gelding when two and half lengths second to glamour stable mate Black Caviar in the 2013 Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington in February.
Last year’s Australia Stakes winner Sea Lord, from barrier six with Stephen Baster to ride, is struggling to regain his winning form and hasn’t won a race since with his best effort a second to Richie’s Vibe in the Listed $150,000 MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on November 5 two starts back.
Richie’s Vibe, with Damien Oliver to ride again, is coming off a last start second in the Listed $120,000 Christmas Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on December 26 and has drawn along Sea Lord at seven.