The Melbourne Mail: Moonee Valley - 21st January 2023

Four meetings in eight days in metro Melbourne leaves the front half of Saturday's Valley card wafer thin but things thicken up through the middle section and a couple of nice betting opportunities arise.

ICE PICK NICK winning the Carlton Draught Emma Boling Plate at Moonee Valley in Australia.
ICE PICK NICK winning the Carlton Draught Emma Boling Plate at Moonee Valley in Australia. Picture: Racing Photos


The most obvious of those betting opportunities arrives in race six. The 1200m handicap features four last-start winners, a couple aiming up at three straight, but none that have put up ratings of any significance and none that are obviously destined to do make their way into better races.

The possible exception is the early favourite Ice Pick Nick. There was a time 10 months ago when the road to nowhere certainly wasn't true of him as he routed a reasonable-looking three-year-old handicap in a time within four lengths of the William Reid on the same card. 

That is a misleadingly positive take on what happened that night but it would be too negative to dismiss it as a poor win and it certainly hinted at him being one destined for better than running off a mark of 68 some 10 months on.

He wasn't miles off the form when fourth in a valuable sales race that was again lengths better than the task ahead of him on Saturday and while he has been plain in two this time around they are easy enough to view as a set up to something better rather than a sign of him being in reverse. 

Six months off onto a high pressure race on testing ground followed by six weeks off into another high-pressure race where things seemed to unfold a touch quickly for him can sharpen the ice pick and leave him poised to nick this basic handicap.  

That's terrible worldplay but it speaks of a good bet at prices around 5/2 in early markets.

The fifth on the card is interesting with Ain'tnodeeldun the chief interest but a hard one to trust for a stable that are struggling to convert at the moment. 

He is going well enough to knock this off but his best to date has been no better than the best of Arran Bay and it is noteworthy that the best of Arran Bay came on the quick turnaround. 

Arran Bay has been below his best this time around but not by miles and he has set down a big platform now for this first try at the longer trip. The Nephew fronts up favourite in early markets, and ties to Arran Bay with decent reason to fancy him from early in the prep, but Arran Bay's winning peak from last campaign gives him a shot in the locker than the Nephew has so far lacked and each way prices are plenty appealing. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #2 Ice Pick Nick @ $3.50

Each Way Play: Race 5 #1 Arran Bay @ $9.00

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