Mark Kavanagh will saddle an exciting trio of three-year-olds over the weekend with key runners at both Moonee Valley and Flemington. Boom colt West Africa heads the Kavanagh team with the son of Henrythenavigator drawing barrier four in Friday night’s $35,000 Alternate Railway Handicap (1000m), reports Racing Victoria.

Stephen Baster will take the ride on the colt with Kavanagh’s regular jockey Michael Rodd taking two weeks holidays.

A nine-length winner on debut at Kilmore, he was then well-backed in the early betting for a race at Caulfield on December 7 before being scratched the day before with a minor setback.

Asked whether he thought West Africa could have tested the eventual winner Lord Of The Sky, Kavanagh said it wasn’t worth worrying about what could have been.

“I never look in the rear-vision mirror about what would’ve, could’ve or should’ve happened, I only worry about where we’re going forward,” Kavanagh said.

“He’s progressed well (since the setback) and we’re hopeful that he produces a good run again.

“I certainly don’t think he’s good enough to beat them by nine lengths on Friday but hopefully he’s good enough to win again.”

Baster will also partner Kavanagh’s second three-year-old at Moonee Valley, the lightly-raced Mother Grace.

Runner-up behind the unbeaten Harquila last start at Caulfield, the daughter of Snitzel has drawn the outside barrier (nine) in the $35,000 Asian Pacific Group Handicap (1200m).

Turning attention to the Christmas Race Day at Flemington on Saturday and Kavanagh has opted to run promising filly Awasita in the $80,000 Beachside Handicap (1000m).

Drawn in barrier one for Damian Lane, the three-year-old daughter of Commands will be out to make it three from three this campaign after breaking her maiden by 4.5 lengths over 1100m at Ballarat and then defeating a handy field by 2.3 lengths at Moonee Valley over 1200m.  

Though he’d also nominated her for both the Fiesta Star Handicap (1200m) and Primacy Handicap (1420m), Kavanagh said he felt the 1000 metres down the straight was the best option.

“She’s a versatile horse,” he said. “Probably going down the straight she’s better off having the edge off her so that she doesn’t have to lead.

“She’s probably better off coming from behind (off the speed) down the straight.

 “She’s a three-year-old taking on the older mares on Saturday and although this is a benchmark 70 race, we’ve just got to see how she measures up.”

The three-year-olds aside, Kavanagh will also have talented four-year-old Oltre Finito line up in the $100,000 Fiesta Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

Unbeaten in his first three starts, the son of Iffraaj tasted defeat for the first time in his first up effort over 1200m at Bendigo.

Set to be partnered by Glen Boss from the inside barrier, Kavanagh said he expected the gelding to be hard to beat.

“They all get beaten sooner or later but he’s trained on alright and we’ll see how he goes down the straight which will be interesting,” Kavanagh said.

The eight-race Christmas Race Day kicks off at Flemington on Saturday with the running of the $80,000 Primacy Handicap (1420m) at 12.50pm with the full list of fields, form and barriers available here

The eight-race program at Moonee Valley on Friday gets underway with the $35,000 Sweeney Can Do Agents Plate (1500m) at 6.45pm with the full list offields, form and barrier available here