The 2014 Moir Stakes field has been released, with only five sprinters set to contest the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Lankan Rupee suffered a shock first-up defeat at the hands of Angelic Light in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6, but is still set to start the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) as clear favourite after drawing ideally in barrier two.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding stamped himself as the best sprinter in the world after he took out the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22, the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 and the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) in impressive fashion during the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival and he is expected to maintain his dominance at the highest level of racing.
Angelic Light caused a boil over when she finished over the top of Lankan Rupee in the McEwen Stakes and she will have the opportunity to record a maiden win at Group level when she jumps from barrier five in the Moir Stakes this weekend.
The Holy Roman Emperor mare missed a year of racing due to injury, but she returned to racing with a fast-finishing third in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 23 before taking out the McEwen Stakes a fortnight later.
Buffering finished second behind Samaready in the Moir Stakes last year after winning the race in 2012 and trainer Robert Heathcote is giving his star sprinter the chance to join Black Caviar (2010 and 2011), With Me (1990 and 1991) and The Judge (178 and 1979) as the only horses to have won the race on multiple occasions.
The triple Group 1 winner was unable to record a race win during his winter and autumn campaign, but he has a strong record at Moonee Valley and is set to take up the running when he jumps from barrier three on Friday night.
Rebel Dane has had a disrupted start to his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but he has been included in the Moir Stakes field after impressing trainer Gary Portelli in the past week.
The Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) was set to be the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Rebel Dane, but he was forced out of the race due to a stone bruise before he missed the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) with the same problem.
Portelli did not think that Rebel Dane would be able to return to the races until the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, but the Warwick Farm-based trainer has been delighted with the way that the California Dane entire had recovered and believes that he is spot on for the Moir Stakes.
Rounding out the 2014 Moir Stakes field is Nikki Burke-trained Unpretentious, who will jump from the inside barrier with Damien Oliver on his back.
Unpretentious finished third behind Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in March and he returned to racing with a luckless seventh in the McEwen Stakes.
The Moir Stakes field is the smallest since Black Caviar defeated three rivals in the 2011 edition of the race.