Ben Melham rides Bel Sonic to victory at The Valley (Image: Racing Photos)
There was a huge late drift on VOBIS Gold Carat favourite Muraahib, going from being close to odds-on territory out to the $6 region with some bookmakers, and he performed as the (lack of) money suggested, finishing fifth and never really looking likely. But while that incident might lead to some enquiries later on, the Hayes/Bayliss team responded positively in the next race, albeit to the punters' chagrin, when 50-1 shot Murphy's Reward held on to win the Follow @TheValley Handicap (1000m). It was Group 1-winning jockey Regan Bayliss' first Saturday winner since his Group 2 double at Flemington on September 16.
Just eight days after signalling his intention to get his stable back to the heights it has previously reached, Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate-winning trainer Mark Kavanagh struck with Atlantic City claiming a thrilling win in the Powerflo Solutions Handicap (1200m). Having put the cobalt saga in the rear-view mirror, the Flemington trainer penned a letter to connections and the public in detailing how tough the fight to clear his name has been after successfully appealing penalties for cobalt irregularities, and said he'll be rebuilding his stable via the yearling sales in early 2018. And as handy a boost as Saturday winner may be on its own, better yet, it was a timely present on Kavanagh's 61st birthday. It was Kavanagh's first Saturday success since speedy mare Wild Rain won the G2 McEwen Stakes, also at The Valley, in September 2016.
Sunlight bolted to a dominant victory at the Gold Coast to launch into contention for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic for trainer Tony McEvoy. It was Woodside Park stallion Zoustar's first winner at the track, and the filly is now a $6 third-favourite to win the rich restricted race on January 13, behind Ef Troop and Jonker.
WATCH: Atlantic City win for Mark Kavanagh
"The bag's already packed - we were careful to not put the cart before the horse." - trainer Jason Warren is off to the Gold Coast for the $2million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) after his smart Bel Esprit gelding, Bel Sonic, came from last to win the $150,000 Ladbrokes VOBIS Gold Carat (1200m).
"I haven't won a race in town for a while so it's good to get one home." - Ballarat trainer Dan O'Sullivan got one up on his city neighbour and super power Darren Weir. O'Sullivan's roughie Truly Discreet upstaged the Weir favourite Pleasuring and also Jason Warren's Kardashing for the trainer's first city win since Australia Day 2016 at Caulfield (Tuscan Fire, dead-heat). His most recent outright city winner prior to Saturday was Gottino on New Year's Day 2014 at Flemington.
"At this stage we'll probably go onto the Bagot." Trainer Terry O'Sullivan is chasing Dandy Gent's first stakes win on New Year's Day at Flemington, having been thrice placed at black-type level and finishing fourth in the recent Pakenham Cup, before winning Saturday's 2500m affair over English import Ormito.
WATCH: Dandy Gent win at The Valley
Moonee Valley favourites - 1/9. Widgee Turf's dominant win in the last was the only victory for a market-elect on the nine-race card
Chris Waller - 100th New South Wales winner for 17/18 season (Warwick Farm treble)
Symon Wilde - Moonee Valley double
Peter and Paul Snowden/Blake Shinn - Warwick Farm doubles
Victor Wong, Todd Pannell and Phillip Stokes - Gawler doubles
Jake Duffy/Linda Meech - Kyneton doubles