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The Mounting Yard: Mid-week racing at Sandown preview

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Roar Guru
19th February, 2019

Another Wednesday, another twilight meeting at Sandown.

This time, it’s at the Hillside track. We have an eight-race card this Wednesday, with the highest rated races numbers seven and eight. We are getting into the autumn properly now, and hopefully this article can get you some winners and springboard you into the weekend nicely, which promised to be one of the best race days Victoria has seen in a very long time.

Let’s get into it.

Race 1
We’ve got a super Vobis two-year-old handicap over 1400 metres first on the program. There’s a very small field here, with only the six horses running, though all of them have legitimate claims except Mileytude.

I’m going to side with La Tene in a very open and unpredictable race. She’s got pretty good form lines for this race, running two lengths second behind Talented two starts ago, who finished second in the Talindert on Saturday, and then finishing off nicely at this track last start behind two smart ones in Really Discreet and Hafaawa.

She gets in well at the weights, only having to carry 54.5 kilograms, and her race experience should hold her in good stead.

Conqueror is the main danger. He trialled really well in the lead-up to his debut at the Lakeside track two weeks ago, where he finished second to Game Keeper, who runs in this race by just under a length.

He should be better for that debut run and he has more scope to improve than the winner. Should relish the 1400 metres second up. WhyKayoh is the interesting runner in this field. He closed off solidly to finish second against Outlandos on debut, and Luke Currie seems to have jumped off last start winner in Game Keeper to ride him.

Should appreciate the step up to 1400 metres and is the danger as an outsider.


Recommended bet: #5 La Tene for the win.

Race 2
The second on the card is a maiden at set weights, for the three-year-olds and up, over the mile. I’ve found one I’m very confident on in the form of Little Phoenix.

This gelding out of the Chris Waller yard was impressive in his trial at Geelong and then backed that up with a promising debut on the Lakeside track a fortnight ago. He didn’t have much space in the last 300 metres in that race when he had to go back towards the rails, and probably would have finished closer if he had an uninterrupted run.

He finished just under a length behind I Know That, who looks pretty smart, and from barrier three he maps to get the gun run just off the leaders. Will appreciate the mile and looks very hard to hold out.

Blue Sapphire will look to lead in a race without much speed in it. He nearly led all the way at the Lakeside track in the same race that Little Phoenix was in at big odds, and he will have a much easier time of it in front here.


He looks like another who will appreciate the step out to the mile, and if they give him too many cheap sectionals out In front, they’ll find it very hard to run him down.

Planet Warrior looks like the only other danger. He came home really well on debut at Ballarat over 1400 metres behind Subraise, and he might have needed the run last start after a long layoff.

The Hawkes team seem to have a high opinion of him, and he’s bred beautifully by So You Think and out of Fantastic Angel, don’t leave him out.

Recommended bet: A big each way go at #5 Little Phoenix.

Race 3
We’ve got a race for the stayers here, with a BM70 handicap over 2400 metres. Basically, every runner has genuine claims in this eight-horse field, but I’m looking for some value in the form of Wild Sea.

I’ve had a pretty high opinion of this mare out of the Mick Kent yard since I saw her win at Pakenham over the mile last preparation. You could tell she wanted further that day, and she’s been building up to that this preparation, finishing four lengths off Empire Liberty at Pakenham over the mile, to then finishing third at the Valley over 2000 metres.

Brian Park riding horse Jamaican Rain

(Photo: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

The query is that there doesn’t look to be much pace on up front, and she’ll get back in the field, though I think she could be a class above these out at this trip and could go on to bigger and better things. Hard to beat. Bringit seems to be one of the big threats.


He’s been running really well this preparation, winning at the Valley over this trip, before being thrown into the deep end at the listed company where he was outclassed. He didn’t have the best of luck at the Valley last start and still only finished two lengths off them, will sit on the speed and be hard to run down.

Skelm and The Delphi are the best of the rest. They both ran at the Lakeside track a fortnight ago, where Skelm won by a length and a half over The Delphi over 2100 metres. They’ll both get back and will be running on late.

Recommended bet: Each way bet on #8 Wild Sea.

Race 4
We move on to a 1000-metre sprint for the three-year-old fillies in the fourth. Not the greatest of mid-week races but if you find the winner you’ll get paid handsomely for it.

For that reason, I like Quenton on an each-way basis. She’s only had the two starts, one at Cranbourne where she was beaten by Realign, who is at big odds in this race. They went really quick in front that day so it was a good effort to fight it out to the line. Her win at Mornington last start was fabulous.

Quenton went to the lead and relaxed more in the run, which shows she learnt a lot off her debut and then gapped them in the straight winning by nearly four lengths. From barrier ten she will have the speed to get across, and with her high cruising speed she might break them with about 200 left and run away again.

Lake District girl is the danger, but looks poison unders at the current quote of $2.90. She ran fourth in the Blue Diamond prelude as a two-year-old which is obviously a good form line, and she returned with a slower than expected recovery rate at Morphettville nearly seven months ago.

She returned really well, winning by three lengths to break her maiden, and McEvoy brings her to Melbourne to try and win an average mid-week race. She’ll sit on the speed and be hard to beat, just couldn’t take the odds on offer at the moment.


Ray’s Dream is the best of the rest. She went well at the Valley before failing at Mornington last start. Will sit off the leaders and be in with a chance.

Recommended bet: Each-way bet on #3 Quenton.

Race 5
This is a pretty good race here in the fifth, a benchmark 64 handicap over 1400 metres for the three-year-olds. A few smart ones are trying to progress on to better things here, and one of those is Tee Train, out of the Symon Wilde yard. I think he’s way overs in the market at the current quote of $9.50.

He ran in a very good maiden at Warrnambool on debut, beating Kaplumpich, Stars of Carrum and Socialising. That was nearly ten months ago now. He resumed at Warrnambool where he was pretty unlucky in the run and got shifted out on at about the 400-metre mark. When he balanced up he finished strongly and should appreciate the 1400 metres today.

Considering he will be on the speed in a race without much tempo, he could be very hard to hold out. Sunrise Dancer has probably the best form lines going into this. She finished just under two lengths away from Columbus Circle and Age of Chivalry in respective runs, before winning by two lengths at Bendigo to break her maiden.

The wide barrier is a concern, as is the tempo up front, but if Kayla Crowther can get her across into a nice spot. She’ll be hard to beat. Winning Partner is very talented, but I couldn’t take the $2.90 on offer.

He won really well at Bendigo three starts back and then ran a distant second to The Closer who went around at $6 on Saturday at Flemington.

He resumed after a ten-week layoff at Morphettville where he came home really strongly in what was a great effort. The tempo up front could affect him, but if something goes quick in front he’s the one to beat.


Recommended bet: #4 Tee train looks overs on an each-way basis.

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Race 6
The sixth on the program is a Benchmark 64 handicap over 1800 metres. This is an open race, evident by it being nearly $4 the field.

I’m going with the overseas import in Latin Beat.

Like most imported stayers he is a lightly raced five-year-old, only having the three career starts. One of those starts was nearly two years ago in Curragh at Group 2 level where he finished fifth on a heavy track behind Yucatan, who had a pretty good spring.

His first Australian run was at this track, where he was narrowly pipped by Monarch Chimes over 2400 metres. We’ve never seen him run on top of the ground, and this should be a pretty good first Test. He maps brilliantly to get a lovely spot just off the leaders for Ben Melham, and he’ll be hard to hold out in the straight.


Florida Dream is probably the most talented horse in the race, but the penny hasn’t dropped yet. He’s shown good signs though in his last two starts, winning at Wodonga and then absolutely flashing home over a mile at the Lakeside track last start. If Martin Seidl can get him across from the wide gate and relax him, he’ll be winning.

Fanciful Toff is the best of the rest. He won easily at Mildura last preparation, before being caught wide and finishing four lengths off them at Caulfield before being spelled. He resumed at Pakenham where he was only beaten half a length over the mile. He should find himself leading, and he’ll be hard to run down.

Recommended bet: None – there are too many unknowns in this race. If you really want to have a bet, Florida Dream probably represents the best each-way value.

Race 7
One of the features on the card comes here, in a Benchmark 70 handicap over 1400 metres. This looks like a put in and take out job really and the punters agree with me.

DeclerationofHeart will be incredibly hard to beat here. We all know how talented this gelding out of the Anthony Freedman yard is, and his form lines are outstanding for a race like this. He won his second career start in what turned out to be a brilliant maiden at this track, beating Clarice Cliffs and I Am Queen, then flashed home to finish two lengths off Brutal in the Exford Plate.

He resumed at the Lakeside track a fortnight ago, where he flashed home again to run second to the talented Bravo Tango. He should be suited by a pretty hot tempo up front today, and he is just far and away a better horse than these. Hard to see him losing.

If anything can upset him, it will be Simply Invincible. He’s resumed really well in his two runs this preparation, running half a length off Critical Thinking at Caulfield and then being beaten a neck at Pakenham in a bunched finish after basically leading the whole way. He should be ready to peak on his preparation third up today, and Linda Meech is a genius on front runners. Could prove hard to run down.

Battlecamp is the best of the rest. He had a really tough run at Flemington first up, where he had to travel four wide the trip, and still only went down by five lengths to Mr Money Bags. He then ran on well at Flemington behind Rox the Castle. Should get a nice spot behind the leaders and be running on strongly.


Recommended bet: If #11 Declarationofheart drifts to $1.80 or $2, make it a big win bet – it’s hard to see him losing.

Race 8
Once again we get to the lucky last at Sandown, at 7.30PM. It’s the equally highest rated race of the day, a Benchmark 70 handicap over 1000 metres for the mares.

I’m going for some value in the form of Laoban Tai Tai.

She does step up in grade from a maiden at Warrnambool, butgets in really well at the weights, with most of the other Mares giving her three or four kilograms. She has been racing well this preparation, with all her runs at Warrnambool.

Laoban Tai Tai undoubtedly should have broken her maiden two starts back when she was held up for the entire length of the straight, and then finally did break the duck to win a maiden last start over 1100 metres. She draws well to sit off the speed and the tempo up front should suit her.She’ll be hard to beat at double-figure odds.

Getemhel is next best. She was probably racing in better fields than this last preparation, running behind the likes of Freehearted, Heart Conquered and Written Choice, who you would assume would be winning this.

She draws really well to sit just off the leaders in the run, and she absolutely flies first up, winning three from four.Will be hard to beat from the gun run.

From The Clouds is the best of the rest. She’s another who’s been running well this preparation. She ran in a good form race at this track two starts back, finishing two and a half lengths off Villa Sarchi and Bold Type.


She then went to Sale and won easily there over 1100 metres. She’ll get back and appreciate a strong tempo up front, not out of it.

Recommended bet: Each way bet on #12 Laoban Tai Tai.

Best bet
Race 2 #5 Little Phoenix.

Second-best bet
Race 5 #4 Tee Train.

Best value
Race 8 #12 Laoban Tai Tai.