ALL eyes might be on champion mare Black Caviar as she chases her 24th consecutive win tonight at Moonee Valley, but south-west punters’ focus will be two races earlier.
The Aaron Purcell-trained Spirit Song will be attempting a win the group 2 $220,000 Sunline Stakes (1600m) ahead of a Sydney campaign.
Purcell declared the five-year-old “spot on” to win back-to-back Sunline Stakes, which will be run 95 minutes before Black Caviar’s race.
“She ticks a lot of boxes to win another Sunline Stakes,” Purcell said.
“She’s spot on. I can’t get her any better.
“With any luck in the run I reckon she can win. She only needs a bit of luck in the run to be in the finish.
“She’s run well at her last two runs.
“We’ve got an ideal barrier, a champion jockey (Craig Williams), a good record around the Valley.
“She’s feeling really well — probably the best that I’ve ever had her. She just needs a bit of luck.”
The Grand Annual Steeplechase-winning trainer said set weights were an advantage for Spirt Song.
“She meets her rivals well on weights following her first two runs back in work,” he said.
“I’m sure the swing in weights compared to some of her rivals will be a bonus for her.
“The Sunline was always her target in this campaign.
“A win would be a big boost for her breeding credentials. She’s already worth a lot as a broodmare but a win again in a group 2 would really add to her value.”
Purcell said Spirit Song, which has been entered in the $2 million Doncaster Handicap over 1600m at Randwick on April 20, will have one lead-in race in Sydney before the group 1 race.
Imported galloper Val Mondo, a stablemate of Spirit Song, lines up in a Stayers Challenge over 3000m at Moonee Valley tonight.
Purcell believes Val Mondo’s last two runs hold him in good stead for the $100,000 race.
“Val Mondo’s last two runs at Colac and Moonee Valley have been very good,” he said.
“Tonight’s race is a nice race at this stage of his preparation. I’m sure he will be suited to running out 3000m.
“It’s not an easy race but I’m sure he will be competitive.”
Black Caviar has six rivals to beat if she is to retain her unbeaten record.
Her race will be run at 9.55pm.