Jockey Mark Zahra (Image: Racing Photos)
In the past 12 months Mark Zahra is striking at 50 per cent on metropolitan tracks on horses starting $3 or shorter in the market.
With regular jockey Damian Lane suspended, Zahra takes the ride aboard the $2.50 (Friday) favourite Naantali in the opening race at The Valley. That statistic includes four rides at The Valley for three wins and a second. These numbers are part of the reason Naantali will likely start a warm favourite.
John Allen has one win from nine rides (11.11 per cent) on horses starting $5 or shorter at The Valley. He is 3/43 (6.97 per cent) in his career at The Valley.
Allen partners the early favourite Lucky For All ($3.50) in the second race at The Valley. These stats coupled with the barrier and the fact the horse is first-up could be part of the reasons behind any potential betting drift on Saturday. Allen also rides Approach Discreet ($3.10) in the third race and Night's Watch ($3.90) in the eighth.
Darren Weir has trained two winners from his past 54 starters at The Valley. He is striking at 3.70 per cent over the past three months compared with a career strike-rate of 16.79 per cent at the track.
The Valley hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Victoria's leading trainer over the past three months, however, he gets the chance to improve those numbers with a huge team including many leading chances. Among Weir's better chances according to the market are Pleasuring ($5, R1), Lucky For All ($3.50, R2), Snitzepeg ($6, R2), Approach Discreet ($3.10, R3), Nature Strip ($1.40, R5), Anjana ($5.50, R6), Land Of Plenty ($5.50, R7) and Night's Watch ($3.90, R8).
Jarrod McLean is striking at 17.33 per cent over the past three months. This compares against a strike-rate of 11.76 per cent over the past three years.
The statistic highlights the recent form of McLean, who saddles key chance Trap For Fools ($3.30) in the fourth race at The Valley.
Eight horses have started $1.50 or shorter at The Valley in the past three years, only Super Too ($1.30) has been beaten.
The Weir-trained Nature Strip was rated the $1.40 favourite for the Group 2 McEwen Stakes as of 12pm Friday.
In the past three months Leon and Troy Corstens are 0/20 on metropolitan tracks.
The father and son training partnership get the chance to break their recent metropolitan drought with exciting filly Thrillster ($7.50), who lines up in the sixth race.
Craig Williams has won 14 of his 34 rides over the past three months (41.17 per cent) on horses starting $5 or shorter in the market.
This statistic highlights Williams' impressive recent form. He rides the favourite Osborne Bulls ($4.40) in the seventh race on the program. The Godolphin sprinter has drawn the inside barrier, which potentially complicates the task for Williams considering the horse's pattern of settling in the second half of the field. Williams also rides Hartnell ($3.80) in the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (Race 8).
In the past three months James Cummings is striking at 34.61 per cent on Victorian metropolitan tracks with horses $5 or shorter in the market.
The Godolphin stable has been in great form of late and Cummings saddles proven weight-for-age galloper Hartnell ($3.80) in the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Dwayne Dunn has had eight rides on horses starting $5 or shorter at The Valley in the past three months for four wins (50 per cent).
Dunn has been in good form at The Valley over the winter months and he partners Queensland galloper Divine Unicorn ($4.60) in the last race.