It’s Australian Hurdle and Steeplechase day at the Lakeside course at Sandown. Plenty of rain over the past week has dished up a Soft 7 track. We’ll be limiting our betting at the Melbourne metropolitan meeting this week despite our stellar form over the past few weeks. It’s important to find a horse that can handle the wet track with the weather forecast showing potential of getting into the heavy range.
The headline races for Saturday at Sandown-Lakeside are the $125,000 Australian Hurdle (Race 1) and the $125,000 Australian Steeplechase (Race 4). All 9 races will be covered below providing the race prediction, one for exotics, best bets and quadrella selections.
Race 1 Australian Hurdle 3400m
Leaning towards Arch Fire. He gets a nice weight swing on Gingerboy from the last meeting and turned the tables in a recent trial. This seems to be his pet distance and has won at Sandown before. He loves it wet also. Gingerboy is unbeaten over the jumps. He is clearly the one to beat and is still competitive on the flat. Didn’t like his recent trial enough to be taking the shorts here. Earthbound beat home Valediction three back and drops a whopping 7.5kg on his latest effort. His best is good enough. I’ll’Ava’Alf wasn’t disgraced at Ballarat after finishing strongly at Warrnambool prior. Jumps record? King of Dudes best is certainly good enough.
One for exotics: Earthbound ($16)
Race prediction: 1-3-4-6
Verdict: Taking a punt on Arch Fire to turn the tables here. Arch Fire W@3.60.
Race 2 2YO Handicap 1200m
Willing to forgive Bringaroo after his first up flop. He did a bit wrong on that occasion and also raced wide throughout. Look for a much improved effort here today. His one win was on the soft track. Winning form is good form and that puts Perpetual Crisis right in the mix. His win at Donald on the soft track was solid and I like the If Not Now When form. Preemptive has drawn wide but wants every bit of 1200. He’s still a maiden but actually beat home the top pick at Caulfield last time. Ridgway the debutant has been backed off the map with the early money. His trial on heavy going was impressive but this is an entirely different challenge here.
One for exotics: Follow any significant money for long shots.
Race prediction: 2-1-4-8
Verdict: Not a fan of this one. No bets.
Race 3 Benchmark 90 2400m
Master of Arts has a stack of weight here but he looks primed to back up his Warrnambool Cup win. He appreciated the wet track and the step up in distance to comfortably claim a high quality race last start. Up in the weights but well off after the claim looks very hard to beat in this field. Black Stardom finally clicked into gear this preparation with a narrow win over the talented Monteux last start. If he runs here he should give plenty of cheek at $31. Golden Mane beat all bar the potential star in Raw Impulse. Looks ready to win after a nice claim from Jake Bayliss. Spur On Gold seems to be getting better with every run. He looks like he’ll relish the rise in trip but the wet track is somewhat of a concern. It might be hard to pick on form but I think San Padre is better than his record suggests.
One for exotics: Black Stardom ($36)
Race prediction: 2-9-5-8
Verdict: Master of Arts should be too good, Black Stardom is worth an each way ticket. Master of Arts W@2.50.
Race 4 The Australian Steeplechase 3400m
Going with the in form Angelology. He was set an impossible task with 73 on his back and still finished close up behind Hucknall at Ballarat. Drops a whopping 9 kilos here and looks very hard to beat. Urban Explorer may be going better than his record suggests. He was backed off the map at Oakbank before putting in an average performance. Won his last steeple run and Pateman sticks. Wells hasn’t done much jumping since his scalp of Bashboy in the 2014 Grand National. His best is clearly good enough but I think he’s more suited over a bit further. King Triton is edging closer to a win but it’s been a while between drinks. About the Journey and Zataglio go in next.
One for exotics: Urban Explorer ($13)
Race prediction: 6-2-1-4
Verdict: Think Angelology is the one to beat here. Angelology W@2.70.
Race 5 Benchmark 78 1200m
Good luck having a bet with confidence here! Coram split My Poppette and Olivier second up. Both of those horses ran crackers last week and if he can repeat that effort he should be winning. Caprese beat a similar field here and theres no reason he can’t do it again. Likes it at Sandown. Jungle Edge grows another leg on wet tracks. He looks outclassed here but could definitely run into the placings at $31. Benchi Pegasus is another who likes a wet track. Generally performs well fresh and looks well placed from the good barrier and after the 3kg claim. Marwood loves a wet track and is edging closer to a win. Looks short enough in this field. Armada is a punters nightmare but does look fit and ready to show his best here.
One for exotics: Jungle Edge ($31)
Race prediction: 10-9-6-12
Verdict: Coram could be worth an each way ticket at $6.00 but just too many unknowns. No bets.
Race 6 3YO Handicap 1400m
Divine Mr Artie probably should have won last start after being held up at a vital stage. He looks well suited out to 1400m and surprised he’s come up at $7.50 in this field. Ticking along very nicely this preparation, the wet track is the big query. The lightly raced Mr Individual was found to be lame after his below average performance in the Group 2 Euclase first up. Unbeaten second up and has very good soft track form. Think Twisting Typhoon has a bit of talent. Was very impressed by his run at Moonee Valley in January before getting too far back at Flemington. If he wants ground the 1400m fresh should suit. Lord Tennyson has been backed off the map after his demolition job at Warrnambool. His form around Nats the Boss ties him in nicely here. Makatiti has track form and although he only won his maiden last start has been competitive in tougher races. Robert De Hero goes in next.
One for exotics: Twisting Typhoon ($10)
Race prediction: 2-1-6-8
Quaddie selections: 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 14
Verdict: Pretty open race to kick off the quaddie. No bets.
Race 7 3YO Fillies Benchmark 78 1600m
Whirlpool savaged the line in the Adelaide Guineas and looks the one to beat here. Gets a nice weight swing on Laqha after defeating her. The big straight will suit at Sandown but she’s an unknown with sting out of the track. Miles Of Krishan has plenty of upside and was a bit stiff at Caulfield last time. She hit the line hard late and looks as though the mile will suit. Laqha does her best racing at this distance. She’s conceding plenty of weight to the rest of the field which is a big concern but she is the best horse in the race. Fife looks a live hope here. She does her best racing on wet tracks and her 1.7L second to Holy Cow reads well after the latter ran a bottler in Adelaide. Street Spun might be able to improve back to the mile. Wasn’t far of C’est Beau La Vie her last attempt at 1600 and that form looks good. No knock on Gingie. Prefer Miles of Krishan out of that race.
One for exotics: Street Spun ($21)
Race prediction: 6-7-1-8
Quaddie selections: 1, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11
Verdict: These mares races usually throw up some big priced winners. No bets.
Race 8 Open Handicap 1600m
Lord Durante was the best of the on pacers last start in a race where it favoured the closers. He runs well on the rain affected track i’m willing to give him another crack here. Longeron strips fitter for his third run after a spell. Another who has the talent but might want a bit further now. Kenjorwood has been freshened after something wasn’t quite right at Sandown last time. His best is good enough for this field but at $4.60 theres no value. What to do with Petrology.. Happy as Hell could be the blowout. He’s got good soft track form and has won second up.
One for exotics: Happy as Hell ($26)
Race prediction: 8-7-2-13
Quaddie selections: 2, 6, 7, 8, 13
Race 9 Benchmark 84 1400m
Spreadeagled hit the line well first up but was never a chance over that distance. Much better suited second up over 1400. Drawn wide a query but he should be running on again. Show a Star should be undefeated this preparation and stays at 1400 here. Fought on strongly to beat an average field last start. This is tougher. Niminypiminy should be an eye catcher from the back with no weight on her. Improving with every run she could be a nice bet each way at $9. Statton ran a very nice race over this course on the soft track two weeks ago. That was a weak race and the distance drop isn’t ideal. So Does He can improve.
One for exotics: Niminypiminy ($9)
Race prediction: 6-7-13-14
Quaddie selections: 6, 7