Sandown Classic Day is the last official meeting of the Melbourne Spring Carnival and hosts six group races, including the Group 2 Sandown Classic and Group 2 the Sandown Guineas. Held at the famous Sandown Racecourse, it is the last chance for punters and socialites alike to enjoy a Spring Carnival meeting, the fun activities and catch the remaining quality horses in action. It may not be the highlight of the Spring Carnival like Melbourne Cup Day, but it still attracts relatively large numbers with 10,000 people on average passing through the gates. With nine races on the card, the day boasts prize money in excess of $1.6m and can provide owners, trainers, jockeys and punters with handy late season returns.
The Sandown circuit is a tough one to negotiate, with an uphill run home and a long straight (Lakeside 407m, Hillside 491m). It is well suited to strong finishers or those who can fight hard under pressure. The Sandown course, located in Springvale (25km from Melbourne CBD), underwent a major upgrade in 1999. It also is a Quarantine Centre used to house visiting international horses.
|RACE NO||RACE NAME||TIME||STATUS||PRIZE MONEY||DISTANCE||RACE TYPE||MARKET|
|RACE 1||MERSON COOPER STAKES||11:25AM AEDT||LR||$120,000||1000m||2YO SW|
|RACE 2||SANDOWN CUP||12:00PM AEDT||LR||$150,000||3200m||QUALITY|
|RACE 3||TWILIGHT GLOW STAKES||12:35PM AEDT||LR||$120,000||1400m||3YOF SW+P|
|RACE 4||ECLIPSE STAKES||1:10PM AEDT||GR 3||$150,000||1800m||QUALITY|
|RACE 5||KEVIN HEFFERNAN STAKES||1:45PM AEDT||GR 3||$150,000||1300m||WFA|
|RACE 6||SANDOWN STAKES||2:25PM AEDT||GR 3||$150,000||1500m||QUALITY|
|RACE 7||SANDOWN GUINEAS||3:00PM AEDT||GR 2||$250,000||1600m||3YO SW|
|RACE 8||ZIPPING CLASSIC||3:40PM AEDT||GR 2||$300,000||2400m||WFA|
|RACE 9||SANDOWN CUP||4:20PM AEDT||LR||$120,000||1000m||HANDICAP|
|RACE 10||SUMMONED STAKES||4:55PM AEDT||GR 3||$150,000||1500m||4YO+M SW+P|
13 acceptors for the opening event on Zipping Classic Day with an early scratching of Jonah in the Merson Cooper Staakes.
Run at set weights, the colts and geldings carry 57kg and the fillies 55kg. Historically there has been an even mix between the ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. Fillies have won 4 of the past 7, colts & geldings 3, including the 2017 renewal with Long Leaf.
Salome opened as the favourite for the training team of Ciaron Maher/David Eustace following from her first-up 3rd at The Valley in the Inglis Banner. Salome is the half-sister to the Sandown Guineas favourite Ringerdingding.
Tough race to line up with 9 of the 12 runners yet to have a race start. The Hayes/Dabernig stable will be represented by 3 runners.
Held at Listed Level, the Sandown Cup is relatively new on the calendar, first held in 2012 when claimed by the Luca Cumani trained Ibicenco.
In the six-year history of the race, no Australian-bred runner has been successful. Only Cougar Express can change that in 2018 as he is the lone Aussie bred runner in the field.
Melbourne Cup runner Vengeur Masque carries the top-weight of 60kg with 7 runners on the 54kg minimum. Darren Weir saddles 4 of the 10 runners.
Yogi wears the blinkers again with Craig Williams back aboard, with Williams record at 8: 2-2-2 when riding the 6YO.
A race for the 3YO fillies held at set-weights and penalties with a capacity field. Patrick Payne with the equal top-weight Zizzis at 57.5kg to jump from gate 15.
Michelle Payne is the trainer/jockey of Sweet Rockette, with Payne looking to secure her first Stakes success as a trainer. Included in the ownership of the Fasttnet Rock filly that is likely to target the Magic Millions Guineas is actress Rachel Griffiths.
Zizzis and Persuader are the only runners in the field with a win over the 1400m trip. None of the field have a win on the Sandown Hillside, with Sweet Rockette the best performed on the track with a 2nd over 100m at her race debut.
A field of 10 to take on this 1800m handicap with the Godolphin owned Tally the 58kg top-weight. There are two on the minimum, Mahamedis and He Ekscels.
Mask Of Time and Bring Me Roses are disputing favouritism. The Maher/Eustace trained Mask Of Time looks well placed after winning the G3 Coongy under 54kg two starts back. He was then taken to Rosehill for the Topaz preview at 1900m and just failed to pick up the winner Red Excitement.
Bring Me Roses will be fourth-up this prep after being kept to mares only company at her first 3 runs back. Last start in the Empire Rose she was working home strongly to finish 2nd, with only the inside passage of Shillelagh beating her home. 2nd in last year’s VRC Oaks, her lone win was in the G2 Edward Manifold over the mile.
The G3 WFA Kevin Heffernan at 1300m has been won by some handy sprinters in previous years with the honour roll showing the likes of Lucky Hussler, Famous Seamus, Lankan Rupee, Lucky Secret and Bomber Bill.
The Udyta Clarke trained Rich Charm will be first-up since the Bobbie Lewis at Flemington on Sept 15 when a beaten favourite. The nine-time winner only has one win when first-up and has never won beyond 1200m.
Illustrious Lad will be second-up after resuming over 1000m on Oaks Day. Peter Gelagotis gave the gelding a shot at the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan, Dubai back in March where he ran 5th to Jungle Cat, beaten 4.25 lengths.
Chamois Road took on the G3 Auries Star when 5th to Voodoo Lad. Sent for a break he returned at The Valley under 61kg when 2nd to Runson who scored by a big margin. Chamois Road has a win and a 3rd from 3 attempts when second-up.
Dollar For Dollar will be looking to win this race for the second consecutive year after claiming the race in 2017 with Jamie Kah up. Luke Currie will take the ride in 2018 and will need to carry 5kg more than his success last year- he has been allotted the 59kg top weight.
5 of the 10 runners are on the 53kg minimum with weighted runners not having the greatest record in this race historically. Charmed Harrmony carried 58kg in 2016 and is the only winner to carry over 56.5kg to victory in this race since 1999.
Sircconi was racing well and had won the G3 Moonga Stakes over 1400m leading in to the Cantala Stakes last start where he faded right out over the mile. A three-time winner at 1400m, he will carry 58kg.
Fifty Stars is yet to miss a placing in seven career starts and has opened a deserved favourite. Carrying 55kg in a BM90 last start, he drops to 54kg as he looks to take the rise to Stakes Company. There was plenty to like about his win last start and can continue the Weir hot-streak.
A field of 12 to contest the Sandown Guineas with Long Leaf a winner on this race day last year when claiming the Merson Cooper Stakes looking to land victory at his first look at the track since that win. The blinkers come off Long Leaf and the Winkers go back on as the Hayes/Dabernig team try to resurrect some form on the Fastnet Rock colt.
Stablemate of Long Leaf, Good ‘N’ Fast features in the same gear change with blinkers off and winkers on.
Seabrook is the lone filly taking on the colts & geldings with Damien Oliver to ride from gate 10 for trainer Mick Price. A 1600m G1 winner as a 2YO when claiming the Champagne Stakes, the Hinchinbrook filly didn’t have much last start in the Empire Rose when under two lengths from the winner Shillelagh.
Ringerdingding was well supported to claim the Listed Hilton Stakes at Flemington at 1400m and didn’t let his supporters down. The stylish colt is on the one-week back-up and looks well placed to claim this. Well supported in early trading including one bet of $4,000 at $3.
Check our full preview for the Zipping Classic.
Small field of 8 to contest the race with The Taj Mahal looking to provide owner Lloyd Williams with another victory in this race that was re-named to honour the great gelding Zipping.
Ben Melham was in the saddle in 2017 and will look to also join Michael Rodd as the winner of this race in successive years. The Taj Mahal looks to be the only early speed in the race and if left alone in front can make them pay.
A handicap sprint over 1000m with the international winning Faatinah to carry top-weight with 60kg and 7 of the 14 runners on the 54kg minimum.
Bons Away has opened as fav having placed in G2 Sprints at each of his past 3 starts, two of those down the Flemington straight six. Last time out in the Linlithgow, he flew late with only the barnstorming finish of Osborne Bulls bettering his own effort. Yet to win at 1000m, he drops back to the five furlong trip.
Thermal Current was an impressive winner on Oaks Day for Darren Weir when sprouting wings and exploding home in the last furlong to score. The 8YO had been racing consistently without a great deal of luck and if Craig Williams can find a spot and again save him for that one shot, the $17 quote looks to offer some value.
The grey gelding Spending To Win will be second-up after winning first-up at 1100m under 54kg at Caulfield back on September 22. Kept fresh, the form out of that race has held up well with his record when 2 runs seeing the gelding hit the board each time- 4: 0-3-1.
The get-out stakes is for 4YO and older mares run at set weights and penalties. The Mick Price trained Pedrena carries the 59kg top-weight with 13 of the 16 runners on 55kg without a penalty.
Five last start winners in the field and many of these coming from different races making a wide range of form-lines converging.
Shoko was a last-start winner of the Tesio Stakes at G3 level when carrying 58kg. The Sebring mare likes to roll in front but might find this tough from gate 14.
There are four runners under double figure odds with the favourite the Waterhouse/Bott trained Our Crown Mistress. After winning on Melbourne Cup Day in 2017, she was not seen again until September 30 this year at Caulfield. After three starts this prep the four-time winner looks ready to fire.