Saturday Racing in Victoria takes us to the Sandown Hillside course. Wednesday saw the same course downgraded to a Heavy 8. The rain looks to be staying away before Saturday so hopefully the track will be upgraded considerably to the Soft 5 to Good 4 range for a solid days racing. Wednesday seemed to favour those handy to the speed in a good position at the turn, although the backmarkers still had their chance down the long straight.
The headline races for Saturday at Sandown-Hillside are the $150,000 Galilee Series Final (Race 6) at Listed Level, the $90,000 Open Handicap Sprint (Race 7) and the $90,000 Open Handicap at the Mile (Race 9). All 9 races are covered in our thorough analysis below, along with our best roughie of each race, quaddie selections and best bets of the card.
Race 1 2YO Handicap 1300m
Not the easiest start to the day. The money is usually your best guide to these 2YO races but slightly leaning towards October Tutu. This is much easier than last start and the winner out of it looks very promising winning again subsequently. Should run well. River Goddess made a mess of the start last time and although no match for the winner, looks better suited out to 1300. Not much between
Smooth Whiskey and Pyx Chamber off their effort last start; it was a midweek maiden, the former finished well but the latter had a tougher run and has drawn well today. Pyx Chamber looks the pick of the two. Launched has claims beating the top pick home last start but think the result will be reversed today.
Best at odds:
Smooth Whiskey looks okay each way at $10. Not getting carried away.
Race 2 3YO Handicap 1500m
Dane Thunder crossed the line with the talented Turbo Miss two starts back and was stiff not to win at this track on Easter Monday. After Bayliss’ claim has only 53kg to contend with and looks hard to beat out to 1500m with the blinkers on. Laqha was a best at odds last week at 13$, she was given every possible chance but couldn’t get the chocolates last start. Up in weight and on the quick backup the queries, clearly the class horse.
Red Alto ran just fair resuming and has previous form around the likes of Tarzino and Jameka. Those two would cream this field but Red Alto is still a maiden and others are more appealing here. Kerauno has plenty of upside and was impressive winning first up at Pakenham, should relish the trip and could surprise up in class. Following the scratching, throw Assertive Star in for fourth. Only won a maiden last start but he comes back gelded and was well in the market finishing close up to Tarzino last preparation.
Best at odds: none
Race 3 Mares Benchmark 90 1300m
French Emotion is a new horse this prep aiming for 5 wins on the trot. Would’ve been a certainty beaten last start after a betting drift but threaded the needle to beat Prussian Vixen and A Lotta Love who both won last Saturday. $3 when markets opened, be careful if her odds get too short as she has drawn wide, looks a good thing here. She’s Miss Devine is over for her first run in the right direction (sorry Sydney punters). She beat home the talented Durendal second up last preparation and is the unknown here. Telopea loomed to win first up but couldn’t finish it off, is fitter now and unbeaten second up but was no match for the winner when resuming. Enquare ran well first up for the new stable behind some talented horses. Has plenty of weight to contend with but wouldn’t be surprised if she runs well again.
Best at odds: There looks plenty of value if the top pick doesn’t win. Enquare can run well (19:4.50), as can Every Faith (26:5) and Inishowen (26:5).
Race 4 3YO Handicap 1300m
If you go on prior form its very hard to go past Catch a Fire. She was terrific in the Armanasco Stakes, started favourite in the Kewney and I’m not too sure what happened. I’ll be passing on this raffle mares race but if you’re willing to forgive her $7.50 might be worth a small play. Demonstrate did run well first up behind a talented one and looks well suited at 1300m here. Never won second up and unplaced at the track from two attempts makes the $2.50-$3 opening price look risky here. Brockhoff has a very similar story to the top pick here. She may have not handled the Flemington straight last time and looks another good chance. Rageese is now in the hands of Darren Weir and it wouldn’t shock to see her awful form this preparation turned around by the master trainer.
Best at odds: Cana never looked likely behind a star last start. She’s a chance on her previous effort when in the market behind Catch a Fire. Each-Way at $15.
Race 5 Benchmark 78 1800m
Zahspeed was very impressive winning at Moonee Valley last start. He railed well around the home corner to kick away and never look in doubt, ticks all the boxes and the drop back in trip shouldn’t be an issue. Tears of Joy has drawn the carpark but has been running very well lately. 1/1 at the track and looks the best of the roughies at $11. The Bandit was huge last start at this track coming from last at the turn. The import might want it a bit further now but isn’t without a winning chance. See What I Bring is very consistent and the rise in trip looks ideal. From the good barrier he should be hitting the line hard, $15 appeals each way (He’s got pretty poor wet track form, if the track is any worse than a soft5 save your cash). Bookies got it wrong opening Gabella at 26$. Her first run in Australia was a pass mark in a strong race and can run well up in trip. Glad this isn’t a quaddie leg, concede chances to Better Land (also drawn wide), Transfer Allowance (blowout hope), and War Legend (good 3YO form, probably won’t start).
Best at odds: My pick of the roughies has to be Tears of Joy. Drawn wide but too good to dismiss at double figures.
Race 6 Galilee Series Final 2400m
Last start Pay Up Bro drew wide, ran three wide the trip (with cover), came about 6 wide on the corner and layed in on the straight. Drawn much better here he looks very hard to beat. Cool Chap was ridden a treat last start and won well, i was skeptical about his ability to run out a strong 2000 and I am again at 2400. Comfortably held his rivals last start but has plenty of weight here. Charlevoix comes of a solid fourth behind Tally last start, has plenty of talent but looks like he might settle at the rear from barrier 12 and could be a long way off them at the corner. Ran super on debut here but seems unders at $2.10. Skulduggery was never a chance last start after a shocking ride. Blinkers are off today and the He’s Our Rokkii form looks good. If he stays the distance could be the one for exotics at $13.
Best at odds: Skulduggery
Quaddie numbers: 1, 2, 4, 5
Race 7 Open Handicap 1000m
Sheidel’s first run in Victoria was superb. Runs well second up and for mine is clearly the one to follow out of the race last start. Hard Romp has a great record at the distance and has never finished out of the top two at Sandown. He loves it first up so if theres any money for him jump on. Miss Seton Sands has been group 1 competitive in New Zealand and was terrific on debut in Australia. The month between runs and the drop back in distance are the queries. Top hope.
Ruettiger also has a very good fresh record, might want it a bit further but the stable are firing at the moment. Zupacharged could be the blowout. Needs to lift but his form around Durendal and Tried and Tired reads well for this. That also ties Lonrockstar in. Both place hopes.
Best at odds: Hard Romp if ready
Quaddie numbers: 2, 3, 7,
16. Put Zupacharged in your quaddie for some value after the scratching. 11
Race 8 3YO Fillies Handicap 1600m
Let Her Rip was never a chance last start behind Silent Sedition. The wide draw might mean a similar story but she did finish hard on that occasion and the extra 200m and weight turnaround helps. Silent Sedition was very good in the Bendigo Guineas. Suited out to the mile but way up in the weights, looks hard to beat. Labdien was no match for the winner last start but should be ready for a second crack at the mile after finishing hard from the tail. Jacqui’s Joy was no match for Labdien last start but might not have liked Moonee Valley. Worth another chance.
Best at odds: Ensuing ran a cracker on debut. Don’t usually like horses out of Maiden class but keep an eye on her at $34.
Quaddie numbers: hoping the favourite can get beat here. 1, 2, 3, 6, 10
Race 9 Open Handicap 1600m
We’ll know more after The United States’ run at Randwick but Kenjorwood does look very well placed here third up. Am a big fan of Michael Dee and with the claim should run well just off the pace. Nevis just held on last time and Big Memory from that race was stiff not to win the Mornington Cup last week. Drawn well and if the leaders are giving a kick will be hard to beat. Kourkam has a good fresh record. If he can slot in from barrier 10 look for him to be running on late. Hijack Hussy absolutely stormed home on a leaders track last start. Will be settling a long way back but with the good third up record looks set for a win if shes within striking distance. Atlantis Dream was solid first up and should appreciate the step up to the mile. She’s never won second up, the form from that race has flopped and she’s drawn wide. I personally think Hijack Hussy is the pick of the Weir runners.
Best at odds: Kourkam can run a race fresh at $17.
Quaddie numbers: 1, 13, 14, 17
Best Bets of the Card
Race 2: Dane Thunder W@5.50
Race 3: French Emotion W@3.00
Race 6: Pay Up Bro W@5.50
Race 5: Tears of Joy E.W@11:3.50