The Trial Files: Sandown December 9

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SANDOWN 9th December


Race 8 – 1300M Handicap

For the third time in eight days racing will take place on the Hillside track. For the large part horses haven’t wanted to be near the fence in the straight but with the rail moving out a further 4M to the 12M position that trend is likely to be reversed.

The forecast south-easterly breeze will assist them across the back straight before being into their faces in the home straight.


Speed Map

There is minimal apparent speed on paper.

Provided he jumps well, ABSOLUTE TREASURE will push forward from barrier 10. WRITTEN INTENT has shown degrees of tactical speed in his career and from barrier six I’m expecting him to be pushed forward to lead.

PINYARDA has drawn perfectly in barrier four and will race in behind the speed conserving energy. DOCKING and MOONLIGHT HUSSLER are the other likely runners to be handy.

The well backed favourite in early markets is WARRIOR KING, a horse who has very little tactical speed. He has blinkers on for the first time and in a recent barrier trial he wore blinkers and they certainly didn’t sharpen him up out of the barriers. He’s drawn barrier 11 which almost ensures Mark Zahra will have to work back across to near last in the early stages.


The Favourite

WARRIOR KING was a very good debut winner at Geelong back in April. He then went on to win a $60,000 3YO BM78 race at the famous Warrnambool Carnival. Both of those wins were on rain affected tracks.

He proved he was just adept on firmer surfaces with two strong runs at Flemington over a mile and then 2000m.

In a recent Cranbourne trial he drifted back to near last early. He was stoked up as heads turned for home before hitting the line hard under moderate riding. The trial was over 990m and was a reasonable bit of work for a stayer.

He’s the best horse in the race and has the most upside of any runner. He’ll only improve the further he gets into his preparation goes and looks capable in events up to 2000m. However, he faces a task today from the tail of the field off what looks a very moderate tempo. Not a horse I want to have running against me so I will be backing him to break even on the race.


Value Runners

WRITTEN INTENT has been $34 into $23 early markets and that still represents fantastic value. This gelding looked sharp in a recent Flemington barrier trial and he is very well suited at 1300m.

He resumed from a 9 month layoff in September and was far from disgraced in all three runs this time in. He’s been freshened and seems to thrive with a few runs under his belt. Likely leader here and will be very hard to run down at big odds.

PINYARDA went around $10 + first up despite trialling very strongly at Flemington leading into that performance. They ran good time for the day at Kyneton and although it was only BM64, it was the best this horse has performed in a very long time.

The Ellerton & Zahra training combination are absolutely flying at the moment and PINYARDA will get run of the race in behind the speed.


Betting Strategy

BACK – WIN – 3. WARRIOR KING – 3 units to WIN

BACK – WIN – 6. PINYARDA 1.5 units to WIN

BACK – WIN – 7. WRITTEN INTENT0.5 units to WIN