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The 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnival might be over…but that means that the focus shifts to Sportingbet Park and the Hillside circuit where it is Zipping Classic Day, named in honour of the warhorse Zipping, who won the Sandown Classic four times in a row hence the name change of the $350,000 Group ll. Mourayan, who ran a gallant seventh in the Melbourne Cup, is the top pick in betting.

The other key race is the $350,000 Group ll Sportingbet Sandown Guineas. There are no standout horses this year and just about every runner has a winning claim. Darley have made it as a job to target this race and they are represented by two runners, Tata and Proverb.

Put these two great races alongside a strong support card full of blacktype…who said the Spring Carnival is over?

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Race One: Merson Cooper Stakes 1000m Form Guide
Back Me: Tricky race to kick things off. Going for Purrific. Trialled very well at Cranbourne before making her debut on Melbourne Cup when beaten by a handy one in the shape of Villa Verde. Race experience under her belt now, drawn well and Bossy sticks with her. Hard to beat.
Don’t Back Me: Hard to say given there are many first starters.
Big Danger: Iconic was a very short priced favourite on debut at Ballarat and never really looked comfortable in the wet going. He’ll appreciate a firmer surface here and with the inside barrier, he may elect to get some cover.
Roughie: Sidestep given he is trained by Peter Snowden and the fact he has drawn well. Other than that, hard to pick one out with confidence.

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Race Two: Twilight Glow Stakes 1400m Form Guide
Back Me: I was quite impressed by Kukla and her dashing on pace win first up at Seymour during their cup day. Her form prior to that was very good, with horses around her including Escado, Swift Succession, Dazzler and Balaclava Lady. The stable has had a quiet carnival, but this looks a promising horse on the rise and is worth the gamble.
Don’t Back Me: I just have my worries about Aneglic Light and Meidung. Angelic Light has been up for a little while and has had some hard racing and it showed last week at Flemington. Meidung was freshened and ran fourth on Oaks Day, beaten comfortably.
Big Danger: Hazard was a tragedy beaten on Sale Cup Day where she had absolutely no luck getting a run until the final 100m where she savaged the line and just missed. The winner of the race came out and won earlier this week at Kilmore.
Roughie: Amarachi was the eye catcher in the same race that Angelic Light contested, when sitting near the fence and working clear late. If she gets a clear run in the run, she can certainly threaten.

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Race Three: Sportingbet Sandown Cup 3200m Form Guide
Back Me: Tough race to sort out. I am going for a roughie here in the shape of Unusual Suspect. Given his form, he probably didn’t deserve to be in the Melbourne Cup field. Even though he finished fourth last, his run wasn’t too bad. This is the easiest race he has contested since racing on Australian soil and he is worth an each-way ticket.
Don’t Back Me: The ride, not the horse, won the race for Verdant on Melbourne Cup Day. It was a peach of a ride from Dunn. I have big doubts about him running 3200m.
Big Danger: Ironstein has been racing so well without winning. Since racing in Melbourne, he has the bad habit of laying in on the rail hence he needs a left hand rider and Bowman is probably the equal bes left hander in the business alongside Froggy Newitt. Ibicenco was dreadful at the Valley then turned it all around with an eye catcher in the Lexus. Bossy jumps on now and should get a dream run from the barrier.
Roughie: Crafty Cruiser had absolutely no luck behind Verdant at Flemington where he got shuffled back thanks to tired horses. No issues with him running 3200m and he is rock hard fit. Fictional Account was a bit stiff in the Lexus. He finished ninth, but he should have finished much closer. He can improve at big odds here.

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Race Four: Eclipse Stakes 1800m Form Guide
Back Me: Going to declare Strike The Stars…again. During the Autumn, he was THAT frustrating to follow. He kept running good races, but never greeted the judge. His first two runs this time were ok, then he really caught the eye last week behind Good Value where he sat back and worked home strongly out wide. In terms of ability, he has got these covered. if his head is screwed on, he’ll win.
Don’t Back Me: Just a little query on whether or not Eclair Surprise can repeat his flashy win at Melbourne on Cup day. Plus he meets Grey Assignment worse at the weights.
Big Danger: Grey Assignment was superb in defeat behind Eclair Surprise. He was winning and winning well in Queensland and his debut run in Victoria was strong. He’ll probably sit outside Star Of Giselle and prove hard to hold out, as will that horse given she may control the tempo again quite comfortably.
Roughie: Ulundi hadn’t done anything for a while, but showed improvement last week behind Niconoise when he got held up, then shoving into the clear and working home well. Throw him in the exotics.

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Race Five: Sandown Stakes 1500m Form Guide
Back Me: First of the good things in the shape of Raspberries. She cruised up to win the Myer Classic, but WFA and probably lacking the killer punch beat her late when finishing sixth, beaten a length. Massive drop back in company, drawn beautifully and has relatively fresh legs. She looks a special.
Don’t Back Me: Anything to beat the top tip. She looks very hard to beat.
Big Danger: Mahisara was confidently ridden and duly saluted in good fashion. He has always shown great promise to win a nice race. He gets his chance here. Morant was perhaps ridden a touch too close to the speed last week when finishing fourth behind Niconoise. If he gets back and gets a clear crack, he could win without shocking me. Mr Make Believe has been freshened since that very hard run race at Caufield that Instinction won. He is another that should be in the finish.
Roughie: Lord Pyrus is a veteran, but he still retains a zest for racing. Trialled nicely at Cranbourne before resuming down the straight and running on quite well when finishing midfield behind the well above average Unpretentious. He’ll jump and sit near the speed and give plenty of cheek.

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Race Six: Zipping Classic 2400m Form Guide
Back Me: It’s WFA and the only WFA horse in the race is Mourayan. He just wins here. He was ridden a treat by Bowman in the Melbourne Cup and all that beat him was the distance. Dropping back to 2400m against this lot…I think the $2.40 is big overs.
Don’t Back Me: Rawnaq at $6…please. Yes, he was unlucky in the Derby, but $6 in a time honoured classic…no thanks.
Big Danger: Precedence was enormous in the Melbourne Cup. He worked home well at the end. He has a habit of not winning, but he looks so well placed here and looks the main danger to Mourayan.
Roughie: Garud probably just didn’t quite run the 2800m right out when beaten by Verdant. The WFA is a worry, but he will appreciate a firm track and the drop back 400m in distance.

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Race Seven: Sportingbet Sandown Guineas 1600m Form Guide
Back Me: There appears to be great value in this race. I am steering clear of the favourites and going for Right To Roam. He was quite unlucky in the Carbine Club where he got held up badly and only got clear the final 100m. He has always threatened to bob up. This could well be the race.
Don’t Back Me: I have a big question mark about Lunar Rise running 1600m this preparation. I think he’ll get it with no issues next time around, but just a doubt about him getting it now.
Big Danger: Tatra was enormous in defeat when beaten by Lunar Rise in the Carbine Club. He sat outside a very hot speed and fought on very well and only got beat a lip. He should get a nice run from the barrier and prove hard to beat.
Roughie: Host Of The Party was steaming home quite hard late last week when beaten by Flying Skipper. He is a lovely horse who will be one to follow next time in, but he has fresh legs and looks capable of causing a boilover at big overs.

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Race Eight:Tmb Printing Kevin Heffernan 1300m Form Guide
Back Me: Declaring Unpretentious another good thing on the program. Absolutely toyed with his rivals first up at Ballarat, then saluted on Cup Day in a 1200m race when a favourite. He was one of only five favourites to win during the carnival, so he is obviously doing something right. A majority of these runners are out of form hence he goes on top.
Don’t Back Me: Just stick with Unpretentious, and throw in the tips mentioned below.
Big Danger: Mid Summer Music doesn’t appreciate dry ground, but she has enough class to overcome that. Her run behind Koonoomoo was very good and the WFA scale suits her perfectly.
Roughie: Chasm could be the smokey. First up for a long time, he ran a good race in the Yellowglen behind Fontelina. Has won second up, unbeaten at the track, loves the distance and Nick Hall’s riding style suits this horse nicely.

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Race Nine: Le Pine Funerals Summond Stakes  1500m Form Guide
Back Me: Good race to end the carnival. I am backing up on Angel Of Mercy. Ran a beauty first up at Randwick, then got home hard in the same race that Mid Summer Music contested. The step up in trip looks ideal and finally she has drawn an inside barrier. Hard to hold out.
Don’t Back Me: Skyerush has the clear class on these, but 58kg and barrier 16 makes it awfully hard for her.
Big Danger: Cabarnet cruised up to win last start but she only has a short sprint and Koonoomoo outgunned her late. If Rodd can hold her up for a bit longer, she can win.
Roughie: Sharnee Rose needed a win on the board and she did it with ease at Bendigo, even though it was a weak maiden. But she has always shown blacktype ability and now that she has the win on the board, she may go on with it.

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