Valley specialist deserves top billing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2005, 12:00am

They may be separated by 18 pounds in the handicap but punters think there's no more than a dollar coin between Billet Express and bottomweight Tiger Ridge in tonight's Class Two handicap over 1,000 metres at Happy Valley (race two).

The John Moore-trained Billet Express, to be ridden by Glyn Schofield, was $31 favourite on last night's tote call, ahead of Tiger Ridge (Craig Williams) at $32.

There is a relevant form line between them as Billet Express won over 1,200 metres in Class Two here at the January 19 meeting, with Tiger Ridge beaten three lengths in third placings.

On those performances, Billet Express goes up four pounds and Tiger Ridge has been dropped three, but seven pounds for three lengths means the Tiger Ridge still has a bit to find.

Billet Express also has the twin advantages of superior early speed and a demonstrated level of comfort over the sharp Valley 1,000-metre circuit, as it's very much a specialist's course.

Tiger Ridge, however, has come up with barrier one and Williams should be able to stalk Billet Express throughout.

Billet Express ascended to the silk department last start, with his spate of good form earning him a crack at champion Silent Witness in the Centenary Sprint Cup on February 16.

His battle with greatness was a brief one, however, as the Witness brushed him off like a pesky mosquito at the 400 metres and sailed away to win like he normally does, with Billet Express coming in a suitably humble 9.3 lengths astern.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there are no such obstacles in Billet Express's path tonight. He should shoulder his big weight without a problem, go straight to the front and remain there throughout.