Trainer Archie Alexander believes five-year-old Spanner Head has returned in career-best form this campaign and he is hopeful the mare can back up a last-start Flemington win with another at Sandown.
Spanner Head finished second to stakes winner Twitchy Frank first-up at Caulfield in the VOBIS Gold Distaff before winning a 1400m open handicap at Flemington on May 18 to take her career record to five wins from 27 starts with another seven placings.
“She has always shown a good bit and she has been very consistent,” Alexander said.
“I don’t really know why but I reckon she’s better than ever.
“We haven’t changed anything but she’s obviously feeling well and things are good.
“Maybe we’re getting to know her better or maybe I’m training better, I don’t really know.
“She just keeps on doing really well and hopefully it can continue.”
Alexander rates Saturday’s Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap (1600m) a tougher assignment again for Spanner Head – whose rating has lifted to 95 after being in the mid-70s this time last year – but he cannot fault the mare.
He hopes apprentice Michael Poy’s 2kg claim, which takes Spanner Head’s weight down to 54.5kg, will prove an advantage.
“I’m very pleased with her and she goes into tomorrow in great form,” he said.
“Personally I think it is a little bit stronger race. I don’t think you’d be saying she’s a certainty to win but I think she’s a great winning chance and you’d like to see her run top three.
“The horse from Adelaide (Waging War) has good form and I think Al Galayel is a good horse on his day but he is first-up.”
Waging War was the $3.70 favourite on race eve having won a benchmark 90 at Morphettville at his most recent start after finishing runner-up in the Group Three R A Lee Stakes,
Al Galayel, who was unplaced as favourite in February’s Hobart Cup, is at $5 with Odeon at $6 and Spanner Head sharing the next line of betting at $8 with import Mr Marathon Man.