Current Track Rating: Good 4

Rail: True

Weather Forecast:

Friday 11th – Max 24. Sunny 60% chance of showers in evening 1-4mm.

Saturday 12th – Max 24. Partly cloudy 80% chance of showers 2-6mm in the morning.

R2 Sandown Stakes G3 1500m

Race Profile

  • 4 of past 5 winners have used Flemington 1400m as lead up run
  • 4 of past 5 winners have carried 56kg or less
  • 3 of past 5 winners have been SP Favourites

Major Players

1. Stratum Star: Drops sharply in grade and comes back 100m in distance. Looks certain to control the speed up front with stablemate Royal Rapture. Despite being beaten 5.35 lengths in the Cantala Stakes that performance still rated well against what others achieved last start. His best chance is to apply pressure 600m from home which can bring the short priced favourite unstuck. Needs to win against the profile with a big weight but looks the only value in a weak race.

3. Slightly Sweet: Improver coming through the ‘B’ grade mares form Group 3 HKJC stakes. How would she measure up in the Myer Classic and then in turn the Cantala Stakes? Hard to really say, I’m but not pleased by her likely position on the speed map and despite being her regular rider I find Kathy O’Hara as another negative. Knockout, but needs plenty to go right.

4. Redkirk Warrior: Scratched from last Saturday in a weak race won by Lord Aspen. Loved his chances in that but fearing the horse has had a small issue and may be a query if the Weir runners pour pressure into the race early. Definitely a winning chance and suited up in trip, but looks under the odds and I’d rather be on third up out to a mile.

5. Sovereign Nation: Improving 4yo that fits the profile perfectly and is likely to find the back of favourite Redkirk Warrior. Expecting the small field to suit him but hasn’t won for a very long time and no convinced he has the class of the other three listed as ‘major players’

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Stratum Star for 3 units at $5 or more

R6 Sandown Guineas G2 1600m 3YO SW

Race Profile

  • 2 of past 5 winners have been SP Favourites
  • 3 of past 5 winners have come via the Carbine Club Stakes
  • 3 of past 3 winners have been 4th up or deeper into their prep
  • 2 of past 5 winners have been 2nd up (2011 & 2012)

Major Players

1. Morton’s Fork: Enjoyed a perfect run in the Carbine Club Stakes with only the very promising Comin’ Through form stronger. The Carbine Club is traditionally the right lead up profile for this race and this year’s renewal appeared strong with both Comin’ Through & Bezel being highly progressive while Hey Doc (Caulfield Guineas form) was unplaced.

7. Faraway Town: She was fair first up in Sydney before another mediocre performance in the Lexus Hybrid Plate. Expect a peak third up here but needs to find 3.3 lengths just to beat Jennifer Lynn.

8. Jennifer Lynn: Lightly raced and on the up. Jennifer Lynn has won her past three starts including the Lexus Hybrid (1600m LR) when attacking the line at Flemington during the carnival. It’s another step up here to take on Morton’s Fork who has the Carbine Club form but we don’t know her limits just yet.  Maps behind Morton’s Fork which makes life hard for her.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Morton’s Fork for 8 units at $2 or more

R7 Zipping Classic G2 2400m WFA

Race Profile

  • 3 of past 5 winners have come through the Melbourne Cup
  • 2 of past 5 winners have come through the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G3 2600m)
  • 3 of past 5 winners have been SP Favourites
  • 5 of past 5 winners have been males

Major Players

1. Who Shot Thebarman: Second in the Moonee Valley Cup on a soft track and backed that up 10 days later in the Melbourne Cup with a game fifth. He followed the same path in 2015 and won this race by seven lengths as a result of a brilliant James McDonald ride. Appears to be going just as well as 2015 but that may not be enough to win here given the depth of the field. He looks very short in the early market, will be back and on the fence and I’m confident he’ll be a big drifter.

2. Big Orange: A solid tenth in this year’s Melbourne Cup after doing plenty of work with the lead division. The drop back to 2400m can suit and should be able to get back to his more favourable role, which is dictating the pace. I expect him to be set alight early and be very hard to run down based on his Newmarket form earlier in the year.

3. Almoonqith: An ‘eye-catcher’ in the Caulfield Cup and backed that up with a solid sixth in the Melbourne Cup. The drop back to 2400m looks suitable as he does have more of a turn of foot than some of these when right. Thought he would defend his Sandown Cup win of 2015 so it will be interesting to see if the stable can freshen him up.

4. Secret Number: The only luck he had in the Melbourne Cup was bad. Trapped wide then forced to go to the front just to get in. The step back to 2400m is more to his liking but just questioning how much that last run would have taken out if him. His Queens Cup (2600m) second to Dandino would have him right in this. Difficult to access but hard to come into after rising 7kg in weight here.

7. Beautiful Romance: A decent seventh in the Melbourne Cup first up from a 39-day break and was just run down by the likes of Who Shot The Barman over the concluding stages. Up 4.5kg in weight but like most internationals may go to a new level at her second start in Australia. She’s has the right form to win this if she can keep in touch early.

8. So Si Bon: Robbie Lang has thrown his 3YO in the deep end here but 3YO’s taking on the older horses has been a very successful play this spring. Sixth up after placing fourth in the VRC Derby, So Si Bon gets the 9kg weight relief off the boys and presents punters with ‘different form’ (away from the Melbourne Cup runners). He hit the line well in an average Derby, whereas the ‘Cup’ runners are coming off a tougher race. He’s progressive and might just be last man standing if he can handle the tempo when Big Orange sets off for home.

Betting Strategy

 LAY (WIN) Who Shot Thebarman for 10 units at $4 or less

R8 Kevin Heffernan Stakes G3 1300m WFA

Race Profile

  • 1 of past 5 winners SP Favourites
  • 3 of past 5 winners raced at 1400m at previous start
  • 1 of past 5 winners was a mare (Mid Summer Music)
  • 5 of past 5 winners have been 4th up or deeper into their prep

Major Players

1. Lucky Hussler: Given three weeks between runs after a lacklustre display in the Manikato Stakes. Perhaps the sting out of the track and the short distances have not been quite to his liking but it appears to me that Lucky Hussler is not at his best this time in. With some rain forecast I can’t come into him and expect him to drift.

2. Under The Louvre: He went fractionally better than Lucky Hussler in the Manikato but also looks below his best. He’s a horse that needs everything to go his way to win. He might beat Lucky Hussler home but that may not cut it here.

3. Famous Seamus: He’s been going better than how his form read and that was proven last start when taking out the Ladies Day Cup at Hawkesbury. He won this race last year and will run a good race at double figure odds.

4. Illustrious Lad: A surprise winner of the Linlithgow Stakes ($13) but perhaps an underrated sprinter. With form around Counterattack, Keen Array and Supido, the Gelagotis clan have snuck this 5YO under the radar and it’s bearing the fruit. The step up to WFA is not particularly suitable but this horse is gone to a new level and only needs to hold his last start rating to win this.

10. Santa Ana Lane: Putting together a good string of runs now at good odds and is due to breakthrough. Beaten 1.2L to Redzel with the 57.5kg first up is looking good now, as are placings behind Keen Array and Sir Bacchus. Good value and will love Sandown.

11. Super Cash: Although coming through Mares grade, Super Cash boasts solid formlines. This is a step up again both at the weights and glass and will respectfully leave her alone at the current price as she needs to run a career PB to be in the finish which I can’t quite envisage.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Illustrious Lad for 5 units at $4 or more

 BACK (WIN) Santa Ana Lane for 2 units at $10 or more

R9 Eclipse Stakes G3 1800m

Race Profile

  • 3 of past 5 winners have carried 56.5kg or less
  • 4 of past 5 winners have been 4th up or deeper in their preparation
  • 4 of past 5 winners have raced at 1600m or above in their lead up at Listed level
  • 5 of past 5 winners have raced within two weeks

Major Players

1. Lidari: No luck last time but is building to a peak rating and looks ready to peak here. He maps perfectly in behind the speed and only needs to handle giving away weight to improving horses to be in the finish here.

2. Turnitaround: Has a similar profile to Lidari and comes through the same lead up race. Confident this is grand final day but he’s drawn to get a tricky run yet again. Bowman for Yendall is a positive switch and he’s a winner this course and distance.

4. Puccini: Knockout runner with 4kg weight drop from the Horsham Cup. Biggest worry is third up at 1800m, could be looking for further already.

5. Desert Jeuney: OK effort last time in right lead up race but again will be well back and needing luck.

8. Tucanchoo: Logical favourite who looks well weighted with 56kg. He gave away race fitness against the majority of those above him in the weights here and was 24 days between runs second up in the 1800m race at Flemington. I find it hard to believe those he beat last time can turn the tables on him, and if he can find cover from Barrier 15 he’ll win.

11. Alaskan Rose: Plenty to like about her last two starts in Mares company at 1600m and then stepping up to 2000m in the Group 3 Matriarch Stakes. Patrick Maloney keeps the ride which some may view as fortunate. Expect her to drift early but can win if everything falls her way.  

12. High Church: Can improve off an honest performance behind Master Reset who has plenty of hype about him. Will get a nice run in transit but think he wants 2000m+ and may still be a run away.

13. Cool Chap: Will be leading or close and has services of the red hot Kerrin McEvoy. Had every favour last time but found one better. Will be in the race a long time but he may be a touch one paced for others if he’s pressured earlier in the race. 

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Tuchanchoo for 3 units at $6 or more

 BACK (WIN) Alaskan Rose for 1 units at $10 or more

R10 Summoned Stakes G3 4yo+ Mares 1500m

Race Profile

  • 4 of past 5 winners raced at 1600m last start (3x G1 Myer)
  • 3 of past 5 winners carried 58kg or more
  • 3 of past 5 winners started from barrier 8 or wider
  • 4 of past 5 winners were 2 weeks between runs 3rd or 4th up

Major Players

2. Silent Sedition: Game effort second up off a 2-week break in the G3 HKJC Stakes over 1400m. It seemed fitness gave out on her last time and she’s well suited here out to 1500m. Has drawn awkwardly in barrier 16 so will need some luck but she’s open to more improvement than most here, so rates as the horse to beat. 

9. Extensible: Like Silent Sedition she’s a mare on an upward spiral and only lightly raced. Drawn to get a soft run in transit and Hugh Bowman is a plus. Her last start fourth in the G3 Angst reads well for this but has come up too short in early markets. Can win, but I’m expecting much better than $5 to be bet.

12. Shillelagh: Another Mare improving every time she steps out. Has raced well at every start this preparation but giving her pattern to go back she can often become the victim of circumstances. The positive in this event is the rise in distance and drawing well away from the fence. Damien Oliver will suit and she meets Silent Sedition an extra half kilogram better off at the weights. That said she’ll be spotting that mare a big head start in running and have less of an advantage from a race fitness perspective.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Silent Sedition for 3 units at $5 or more

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