Bivouac leads home Loving Gaby (white colours) in the Newmarket Handicap (Image: Racing Photos)

Stars aplenty in William Reid

The final Group 1 race in Melbourne for the season can often feature some sprinting leftovers but Friday night’s William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley threatens to be one of the best sprints of the autumn with 18 quality nominations received on Monday.

Nature Strip is among the entries as is the Tasmanian star Mystic Journey, the Oakleigh Plate winner Pippie as well as the multiple Group 1 winner Scales Of Justice.

The $500,000 race over 1200 metres will also again feature the clash of the top three-year-olds Bivouac, Exceedance and the filly Loving Gaby.

Sean Keogh, who rode Bivouac this morning at The Valley, said the colt was working just as he had before he blitzed his rivals in the Newmarket Handciap.

"It was similar to his Flemington track gallop a fortnight ago," the Godolphin representative said.

"He was entitled to finish off strongly. He just went around over 100m he was nice and kind early and finished off nice."

Bivouac ran the 1000 metres in 1:09.91, working home the final 400 metres in 25.59 seconds while Newmarket runner-up Loving Gaby finished off her work in 23.79 seconds. 

Keogh said he was hoping not to see a repeat of the Manikato Stakes run last October when Bivouac could not get clear.

"It definitely wasn’t his night that night but take nothing away from the winner (Loving Gaby) – she was good on that night," he said.

Another surprise among the nominations was the exciting filly Rubisaki but her trainer Patrick Payne said she was likely to miss the race and run next in Sydney in the $200,000 Group 3 P.J. Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 4.

WATCH: 2020 Newmarket Handicap