The Mounting Yard heads back to Sandown this Wednesday for what is a very good mid-week offseason program.
We are at the Lakeside track with the rail in the true position, which generally favours those who are on the speed. The track is currently rated as a Soft 5, but with the average draining system at Sandown and some rain predicted, I expect it to be somewhere around a Soft 7 come the first race. The first race is at 12:25 PM, and the last is at 4:30 PM. Let’s find some winners!
An intriguing race kicks off the program. There’s not a lot of value around apart from one galloper and that is the Ellerton and Zahra trained Pepper’s Ghost. The only concern was the potential track pattern. I liked his debut run at Echuca when running two lengths off Immortal Love and Suprina. He was outsprinted early in the straight there but picked up again late in a race where they ran serious time.
The winner in Immortal Love beat the winner of the Showdown in Khoekhoe so the form stacks up. He then went to Moe and never had much room in the straight. The in-form Billy Egan should find some cover and there looks to be a strong enough speed out in front if the track is playing evenly. Restarted ran into a very smart one on debut and should find this no harder than that.
He jumped at $2 there after jumping out well and has plenty of natural ability. Chequerboard was good on debut when beating a handy enough type in Vistabelle after leading all the way and must be respected, whilst Glitzy Girl has jumped out well and is the best of the few debutants.
Recommended Bet: Something small each-way on no.6 Pepper’s Ghost at $14.
In what is the order of the day, this is a wide-open affair. It isn’t a race I would unload the bank balance on, but I will be having something small on Win Fall at a price. All throughout her career, she has run into some good horses such as Paul’s Regret, Zoupino, and Sayumi which is probably why she took so long to break her maiden.
She resumed after a three-month spell and was fantastic when winning by two lengths and eased down in the last 100 metres at Geelong. She draws out (11) but Poy should be able to find her some cover and there is plenty of talent there.
Splendoronthegrass was excellent when winning at the Hillside track last start after covering extra ground. She might have to do that again from the wide gate (12) which is the concern.
Cirrina was excellent three – back at Pakenham when winning by three lengths and has had excuses in her last two starts. She draws well (2) and can bounce back here. La Croft is a horse with above-average ability but still has a lot to learn. She must be included in all exotics, while Give Val a Ring and Miss Hayworth are the best of the rest.
Recommended Bet: No.13 Win Fall each-way at $13.
Just like the previous race, this is as open as you will see, evident by it being $7.50 the field. Yet again, I wouldn’t be investing many units here, but I will have another small play on Stravain. She was fantastic three – back at this track when flashing home to run a length off Excelida in what was a harder race than this, before being ridden upside down at Caulfield to eventually run five lengths away last start.
She ran home well last start to finish a length off Power O’hata who she gets a 3.5kg weight swing on today. They will go quick in this and she will be flying home late. Atlantica is the main danger. She was tough when winning on a bottomless track here two – back, before going down the straight at Flemington and running two lengths off Jamaican Hurry who ran well again on the weekend.
She goes up in weight here but draws perfectly (5) and thrives on rain-affected going. Gina’s Hope ran in better races than this last preparation and goes well first – up. She must be respected. Betty of Grabble ran well without winning last preparation and is the blowout chance at big odds fresh.
Recommended Bet: Small each-way play on no.9 Stravain at $12.
We finally get to a race in which I have a decent level of confidence in. I’m happy to be on the overseas import for the Freedman yard in Gravistas. This Gelding ran two lengths off Just Benjamin in Scotland last preparation and it’s fair to say that horse would have panels on this field. He finished his UK adventure with a win at Newmarket before coming to Australia and being spelled for a year.
He resumed at Ballarat on a Heavy 8 and ran a length off Eugene’s Forest and a length off No Say in It. The latter wasn’t far away from the talented Sikorsky on Saturday, so the form reads well. Rising from 1600 metres – 2100 metres looks ideal and he maps to get a fantastic run. Anything But is the main danger but is well found in the market. He won well two – back at Wodonga when having to sustain a long run around the field, before going to Cranbourne and winning well again by a length.
He maps well from the rails draw (1) and should only need even luck to be right in it. Upswing is the progressive galloper in the field, but this is by hard his toughest test to date. He was good when winning at Terang two – back, before going even better last start at Werribee when beating some handy types. He needs to improve again but there is nothing saying he can’t.
Recommended Bet: no.1 Gravistas each-way at $6.50.
This is a race where there are plenty of chances and I found it difficult to put one on top. Meteor Light reaches this race third – up and probably drops in grade slightly. I thought his first-up run was solid when running a few lengths off Shot of Irish and Duke of Plumpton, who have both franked the form. He then went to Ballarat and only warmed up late over the 2000 metres.
He won at this track and trip last preparation and he maps to get an easy time of it on the speed today. Cernan was good two – back when finishing second but putting six lengths on third, before going to Geelong and running a length off the handy Tigre Royale. He maps to get a lovely run again here. Fanciful Toff mixes his form, but his best is good enough.
If he replicates his run two – back in the Terang Cup when running two lengths off Too Close the Sun, he goes very close. Big sur and Heir to The Throne are a must for the multiples.
Recommended Bet: Shouldering arms here unless there’s a clear track bias for those on speed. If there is no.7 Meteor Light becomes a betting proposition.
This looks to be a race with a pretty long tail to it. I like one at a price and that is the David Brideoake trained Give Me Ten. She was a strong winner on debut when beating the likes of Recompensa in a Mornington maiden before going out for five months. She resumed at the Hillside track in what was a good race and ran three lengths off Splendoronthegrass after only warming up late to run the fastest last 200 metres of the race.
She should get a nice spot in the run and rising to the mile second-up looks ideal.
Charliese will have to have a good amount of luck to get across from the wide gate (13) but she might be the best horse in this race. She was super first-up when beating Hidden Legend (who is a $2.90 fav in the last), before being unlucky not to beat Librate at Flemington last start who has since franked the form. She can win, but needs a good steer from Zahra. Quantum Mechanic isn’t without claims.
She pulled up with an irregular heart rhythm on resumption which was an obvious forgive, before going back for an easy kill at Sale, and then going to Adelaide and running three lengths off Game Keeper who has franked the form by winning at Flemington. Grand De Flora is well found in the market and I wouldn’t be jumping in at the current price.
Recommended Bet: No.7 Give Me Ten each-way at $21.
The bookmakers have this as a wide-open race, but I thought narrowing down the chances was easier than that. I think two runners represent good value and one of them is Darlamax. This horse likes the Sandown circuit, which is positive, has won on Heavy ground and has won in similar grade.
He was very unlucky not to at least finish closer to All Hard Wood at the end of last preparation and that form reads okay for this. He resumed after a three-month spell at Ballarat where he knuckled at the start and just got too far back to ever be a threat. That is a high rating race after the second horse has won subsequently. He goes well second-up and with a positive ride from Bayliss from the good barrier (5) he can be winning.
Adversary is the other runner I want to be on. He was a certainty beaten two – back at Bendigo after being held up for a large part of the straight, before running on to finish 1.5 lengths off the talented Sikorsky whilst finishing alongside Orleans Rock at Flemington. He is rock hard fit and from the rails, draw (1) can be going close with even luck. Outside of them two, it’s a bit of a raffle. Mr Stylish has plenty of natural ability and can run well, whilst Taksu must be respected after a tough win last start.
Recommended Bet: Each way plays on no.8 Adversary at $6 and no.10 Darlamax at $7.50.
The punters must wait for the last on the program for what is probably the best race. Hidden Legend is the best betting proposition on the program. His last two runs have been huge and against better horses than what he faces here. Two – back he was keen all throughout the race after sitting on the speed and only went down by a nose to Sonaree, whilst beating Orleans Rock by 0.75 lengths. He then went to the Hillside track on a Heavy 9 and won by two lengths over the handy Defiant Dancer. He draws well (2) and maps to sit on the leaders back.
The claim from Price means he is carrying 3kg less than the second favourite. Haipara and Taberna come out of the same race from their last starts and seem like the two logical dangers. Both draw well respectively (1 and 5) and should fill the placings.
Was surprised to see Taberna open at such a big quote though. Maximak was impressive at Pakenham last start and drops in weight here, whilst Sukoot is the only other winning chance.
Recommended Bet: Win bet on no.4 Hidden Legend at $2.80.
Best bet: Race 8 #4 Hidden Legend
Next-best bet: Race 4 #1 Gravistas
Best value: Race 6 #7 Give Me Ten
Please gamble responsibly.