We head to Sandown again this Wednesday for yet another twilight meeting. These twilight meetings have started to become a part of the furniture, so to speak, of summer racing in Victoria.
Much like Moonee Valley on Friday nights. It’s an eight-race card, with the highest rated races coming in race seven and eight, both benchmark 70 handicaps. Like last Wednesday, the Victorian weather gods haven’t been overly kind, with a top of 19 degrees expected and a 50 per cent chance of rain.
Whether you are at the track, or just getting home from work, hopefully this article can find you a winner!
The first on the card is a maiden at set weights for three-year-olds and up, over 1400 metres. There doesn’t look to be any pace in this race at all, so expect them to walk for the majority of the race.
Abraded looks like a good each way prospect here. He’s a lightly raced gelding out of the Archie Alexander Yard who looks pretty progressive. He just missed behind Pique on debut, and then ran second, three lengths away to Visao after travelling four wide, who went on to finish five lengths off them in the Victorian Derby.
He resumed at Geelong a few weeks ago where he finished a length off I Know That, who won at this track last week. He should be a lot better for that first up run, and he finally draws a good gate. Should be hard to beat at the each way quote.
Suburbia looks to be one of the dangers. He ran in some good maiden’s last preparation, behind the likes of Jawwaal, Scipio and Maclairey. Coming back to 1400 metres looks to suit him, and from barrier eight he will sit on the speed and give a big sight in the straight.
Pirelli wouldn’t surprise. He ran second in a pretty good maiden at Geelong, behind Greetings Ned, who went on to win at Bendigo last week. Could find himself on the speed and might be hard to run down.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.1 Abraded.
The two-year-old fillies step out in the second, over 1300 metres. Near on impossible to pick a winner here one would think, with so many active chances.
Hafawaa seems the best of those chances though. This filly trialled really well at Warwick Farm in the lead up to her first race, and she also ran extremely well on debut at Randwick. She sat outside the leader that day, and ran greenly in the straight which probably cost her a win. She was also examined by the vet pre-race, which is never ideal. She’ll no doubt be better for that run, and she will get a sweet run just behind the leaders. Hard to hold out.
La Tene has had excuses in her two race starts. She’s been caught four wide in both her career starts, and still finished second and third in respective runs. She draws barrier one today, and maps to get a nice run behind the speed. With even luck she’ll be hard to beat.
Oriental Lily and Fling are both right in it. They’ve got the same form line, running behind Lady Naturaliste in the lead up to this race, who went on to only run six lengths behind Castelvecchio and Accession in the Inglis Millennium on Saturday. Should go well.
Recommended bet: Won’t be investing in this race, not enough form to go on, go wide if anyone is taking any early quaddies.
We finally get out of the maiden grade, and into a benchmark 64 for the three-year-olds over 1300 metres. I’m prepared to take the $2.40 currently on offer for Terbium.
This Phillip Stokes-trained gelding has been brilliant in his first two starts, winning both of them easily. He won by three lengths at Strathalbyn under hands and heels riding, and then was eased up in the last 50 metres at Pakenham in front of the talented Oregon Dreamer. From barrier seven, Crowther should be able to place him either handy or midfield, and the punters should be filling up in the third. Hard to see him getting beaten.
If there is a danger, it’s probably Kashiwa. He was unlucky three starts back at Newcastle, and then disappointed at Canterbury, but his last start breakthrough at the Valley was really promising. He missed the start and ended up last, only to sustain a wide run around them and get over the line ahead of the always honest Duke of Magnus.
He should get a lovely run off of a hot tempo from barrier six, and if the swoopers are coming, he’ll be the one leading the pack.
Fast Stepping is next best. The wide barrier is a major concern, as is the hot tempo that is likely to be set, however, if Zahra can get him across and pinch a few cheap sectionals, he will be hard to run down. Duke of Magnus form stacks up well here, with him beating him at Geelong.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.1 Terbium.
Biggest staying test of the day here in the fourth, with a benchmark 64 over 2400 metres. Very keen on Nothing’ Leica High in this one. This Robbie Griffiths trained gelding has been building beautifully for a race like this. He travelled three or four wide the whole race two starts ago at this track, and still kept coming to the line behind Prince Ziggy, who went on to finish a length behind Lamborghini last start.
He got a horror ride from Martin Seidl last start, and arguably would have won that race if he got out earlier. Will go back from the wide barrier and as long as he can get cover, I think he’ll find his best today and be far too good for them.
Bint Cherokee is one at double figure odds who could run a really good race here. She draws wide but should have the speed to be able to come across and either lead or sit handy in the run. She broke through last start at Moe for her maiden win, and while this a step up in grade, she will relish the rise to 2400 metres.
Noonan retains the ride and if she can pinch some cheap sectionals, she’ll be hard to run down. Vellaspride is always a danger, usually of finishing second though. He maps really well again to get a lovely run off the leaders back, and Oliver comes back on to try and get that little bit more out of him. I couldn’t touch him at under $6, though it wouldn’t surprise at all if he won.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.1 Nothin’ Leica High
We’ve got a benchmark 64 handicap over 1800 metres here. Very hard race to sort through, with about seven live chances in it. Can’t take the shorts on the favourite, so am going with Scorpios Sunset in this one. Think he’s probably overs at the double figure price at the moment.
He was unlucky on debut at the Valley, where he sat three wide and ran really greenly in the straight. He was very impressive at Geelong, coming from midfield to score by nearly three lengths, and sitting on the speed didn’t do him much good at this track last start.
He was headed there after hitting the front in the straight, and then found a second wind when there was something to chase again. If Douglas can sit him a little bit better than midfield off the rail, he can definitely be in the finish.
The short-priced favourite in Jungle Fish is clearly one of the main dangers. She’s no doubt the class horse in this race, but she won’t be getting any favours at all. Her form is obviously fantastic for a race like this, finishing a length behind LuvaLuva in the Adrian Knox Stakes last preparation, and then destroying them at Pakenham by four lengths to break her maiden.
The wide barrier is a concern, considering we don’t know where they will want to sit her, and I just couldn’t take the $2 currently on offer, with a few queries around her.
Rue de Rennes is probably the best roughie in the field. She has been racing in really good form this preparation, running half a length behind Dogmatic two starts ago, and then winning by three lengths at Mornington last start. She should get a lovely run from barrier four in behind them, and she should at least be placing at brilliant each way odds.
Recommended bet: Another race I’m not keen to invest in, maybe No.15 Rue De Rennes on an each way basis.
Pretty good race this in the sixth on the card, a benchmark 64 handicap over 1300 metres. Seems like the market has got this one spot on, and it looks a race in three. Savvy Oak looks hard to beat here. He’s no doubt the class horse in this race, running only a few lengths behind Derby winner and place getters in Extra Brut, Stars of Carrum and Aramayo last preparation.
Admittedly this isn’t his ideal distance, but he did win a maiden on debut over 1200 metres, and this isn’t exactly the strongest field he will face, so he has the sprint speed to beat them. There looks to be a strong pace put on up front by Desidero and Zamperini, which should benefit him coming from back in the field. Hard to beat.
River Jewel has been racing well this preparation, and has fitness on her side. She won well at Cranbourne two starts back, and finds that same trip here, which seems to be optimal for her. She’ll race on the speed and do no work from barrier five, hard to hold out.
Eeast Indianman is the best of rest. He only ran a length off Amphitrite and Wild Planet last preparation over similar distances. It seems to take him a while to find his best after a spell though, so would prefer to see first.
Recommended bet: Win bet on No.7 Savvy Oak.
A quality mid-week race here in the seventh on the card, with a benchmark 70 handicap for the fillies and mares over 1400 metres. Some very progressive types are going around here, and one of them is Zabelarina, at double figure odds.
She’s a very good young horse, who has only had one run under the banner of Archie Alexander racing, where she led all the way for a very soft victory at the Lakeside track. She got too far back in her previous starts, finishing four lengths behind Illumicon on debut, nearly two years ago now, and three lengths behind Longmu nearly a year ago.
From barrier three she should get a lovely run, either midfield or on the pace, and be hard to hold out over the extra trip today.
Peko has been in really good form this preparation, winning two from four, including a second at this track. The second was when she finished two lengths behind Tin Hat, who went on to win a group three. She was unlucky last start, when she couldn’t get any room down the straight, and only went down by two lengths.
From barrier nine she should be able to sit on the pace and make her own luck, big chance. Shamwow is the X factor in the field. She got too far back on debut at Echuca, and still stormed home to finish half a length off them, and then went to Sale and absolutely destroyed them, winning by three lengths coming from last.
She will get back again today, and if someone decides to put some serious pace on, she’ll be the one running on strongly.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.11 Zabelarina.
No doubt the best race on the card, and it comes in the lucky last on the program. A benchmark 70 handicap over 1000 metres. Some promising types are either resuming, or about to hit their peak in their preparation, and one of those is Won Ball. This gelding still has untapped potential, and hopefully the move to the Gelagotis stable will see him achieve, what I think he can.
He had excuses last preparation, settling four wide at Ballarat, and only losing by a neck on the line, and then broke through for an impressive win at Pakenham in front of Indiana Wolf and Extreme Bliss.
He ticks a lot of boxes here today, he’s won at this track and has a third in two starts here, goes well first up and also goes well at the distance. He should either lead or sit on the pace with a race devoid of it, and be very hard to run down.
Redcore is one of the main dangers. He has brilliant form lines for this race, running behind Tin Hat, Bravo Tango and Mystyko in his last two starts. He finished three lengths off Tin Hat, who went on to win a group three a week later. From barrier six he should sit midfield, and have plenty left in the tank when Williams flicks the switch.
Villa Sarchi is the best of the rest. He loves this track, evident by him winning here two starts ago in one of the best wins you will ever see. He just got too far back at the Valley last start and stormed home to finish a length away from the winner. The lack of pace on up front doesn’t suit, but he can still run a very good race.
Recommended bet: Each way bet on No.4 Won Ball.