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Racing: Valley set for Chinese frolics while Price tips Tarzino to be Derby star

It might be the Chinese Year of the Monkey when the old year ends and the new one begins early next week.

But at Moonee Valley racecourse it is always the year of the horse - and that will be the case again when the racetrack combines with the newly-established Australian Chinese Jockey Club and Eliza Park Stud to stage a Chinese New Year race meeting on Friday night.

With racecourses constantly battling to build audiences and boost attendance a raft of new marketing initiatives are being tried, and this one is designed to get the large and growing Chinese/Australian community to the track.

Attendance for the night will be free, and the traditional fireworks that always accompany Chinese New Year celebrations will be let off after the last race. 

Top trainers Lee Freedman, Darren Weir and Gai Waterhouse are expected to attend an event that has been partially funded by the Victorian government.

Racing Victoria has given special dispensation for horses wearing the number eight saddlecloth to carry special Chinese inspired numerical notation - a nod to the importance of the number in Chinese culture, where it is associated with wealth and prosperity.

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Teresa Poon, chairperson of the Australian Chinese Jockey Club, says the race meeting offers the perfect opportunity for the Chinese community to "connect to the local community through a night of action and fun, using racing as the bridge".

Meantime, top Victorian trainer Mick Price believes his star three-year-old stayer Tarzino has what it takes to complete the Derby double in Sydney in the autumn, having won the Victoria Derby at Flemington during the spring.

"Mentally and physically he's a very tough animal," Price told racing.com.

"We're sticking to 1400m in the CF Orr [Stakes] then three weeks in to the Australian Guineas and then Rosehill Guineas and the [Australian] Derby.

"If he has a good trip to Sydney and reverse way is no trouble for him and he settles in – I think you'll see the best of him in those two Sydney runs."

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