Moonee Valley kick-off for potential Spring stars

The VRC Sires’ Produce winner, a half-brother to a couple of former stars and a host of other The Age Caulfield Guineas hopefuls will assemble at Moonee Valley for Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes.

The Danny O'Brien-trained Running Tall headlines the field for the 1200-metre event, which is the headline act of the Moonee Valley Racing Club's first meeting of the new season.

The son of Stratum was one of Victoria's top juveniles of last season and while he finished down the track in both the Golden Slipper and Champagne Stakes at his past two outings, his most recent Victorian effort resulted in a dominant win in the $300,000 Group 2 VRC Sires Produce (1400m).

Running Tall shares the 57.5kg top weight for Saturday's race, which is the sixth event on an eight-race Valley card at 3.20pm, with Wendy Kelly's Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate winner Arctic Command.

The only other runner above the 55kg limit in the race that has attracted a capacity field of 12 plus three emergencies is the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Hot Spin, who has won back-to-back Caulfield races at his past two.

Some intriguing runners are among those on the 55kg limit, none more so than the David Hayes-trained Niconoise, a half-brother to five-time Group 1 winner Niconero and former Lightning Stakes winner Nicconi.

The son of supersire Redoute's Choice and Nicola Lass has been to the races just once, for an effortless 3-1/4-length win at Morphettville.

Niconoise is one of two Hayes-trained runners engaged with Dontmentionthewar, a debut winner at Echuca, the second emergency.

O'Brien also has The New Boy, a winner of two of his three starts and an unlucky second at the other run, while Peter Moody, who won last year's McKenzie Stakes with Anacheeva, will chase back-to-back wins with Huegill.

The Mike Moroney-trained Sabrage, an impressive Caulfield winner at his only start, the Mick Price-trained Secret Hills, winner of his past two, and John McArdle-trained talent Kid Kobe are among the other promising types engaged.

Story by Racing Victoria, to view full story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's Racepixvic website click here

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