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A year after finishing third to Americain, honest stayer Mourayan will be back at Sandown on Saturday chasing victory in the race named in honour of his former star stablemate.

Zipping made the Sandown Classic his own with four straight victories in the Group Two contest between 2007 and 2010.

Last year the 2400m weight-for-age contest was renamed the Zipping Classic as a tribute to his feat.

Owner Lloyd Williams, who raced Zipping, also won the race with Legible in 2003 and has Mourayan and Tanby engaged on Saturday as he looks for his sixth win in the past decade.

Jockey Hugh Bowman has been a regular raceday partner for Mourayan and said he was keen to improve on last year’s placing.

“Mourayan is a good, honest horse and was beaten less than a length behind Americain in this race last year,” Bowman said.

“It was only a small field but it was a quality race last year.”

There is no Americain or runner-up Manighar this time around and Mourayan has been installed the early favourite.

Three-year-old Rawnaq is the second pick for the Classic on the back of his third in the Victoria Derby.

The last three-year-old to win was Count Ricardo in 2004.

Mourayan, winner of the Craven Plate last month, finished seventh in the Melbourne Cup which was taken out by stablemate Green Moon.

He is one of two Melbourne Cup runners contesting the Zipping Classic along with the Bart Cummings-trained Precedence who was ninth at Flemington.

“His (Mourayan’s) run in the Melbourne Cup was good. He ran as well as he could,” Bowman said.

“He would maybe have been better suited with a bit more give in the track and with a stronger pace, but that would have brought a lot of others into play as well.”

Bowman will be chasing a feature double at Sandown with Mourayan a clear-cut favourite and Lunar Rise one of the main chances in the Group Two Sandown Guineas (1600m).

The Bart Cummings-trained gelding claimed the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington last time out, defeating Tatra and Proverb who are considered his main rivals on Saturday.

“He won really well dropping back to a mile last start and I was pretty impressed with him,” Bowman said.

“He was aided by a strong pace that day and will need a bit of luck on Saturday because he’s drawn a wide barrier.

“But he’s an improving type of horse.”

 
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