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Eight races will be run and won at Sandown Lakeside on Sunday, headlined by both the Australian Hurdle (3900m) and Australian Steeplechase (3900m). The weather is fine, the track is heavy (8) and the rail is out nine metres for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (12:05) Ladbrokes Back Yourself Hurdle (120) 3400m

Back Me

Tricky Hurdle to kick the meeting off. Was on 4 Flying Agent (Bet Now: $7.50) at Warrnambool last time and happy to butter up again. He contested the Champion Novice Hurdle and looked to travel sweetly throughout and looked the winner heading into the last jump. Just reckon his condition gave out late given he hasn’t had the hard racing. He’ll come on from that and this track should be genuinely wet.


3 Diamond Star Halo (Bet Now: $2.80) should have won the Champion Novice Hurdle. Did everything right from the front until the last, where she barely lifted her legs up and almost fell. Picked up, was holding the lead, only to get bloused late. Should lead this field up and with a better jumping display throughout, she’ll take some beating.

Long Shot

5 So Belafonte (Bet Now: $7.50) is the hard fit horse that won’t mind this being a slog if it indeed turns out that way. Won a Maiden Hurdle during the Warrnambool Carnival and gee he showed some ticker to take that out. Looked a beaten horse several times but kept finding and was able to cling on. Lacks the class of some of these, but will stay all day.

Race 2. (12:45) Australian Hurdle 3900m

Back Me

Found this just about impossible to sort out with confidence. I’m going with those with upside, and on top is 6 Robbie’s Star (Bet Now: $7.00). He ran fourth in the Galleywood at Warrnambool and was very good from the back after spotting them a start. Loomed to win but couldn’t sustain the run. Wetter the better for him, so he’ll hope this remains in the heavy range. He can take this out.


7 Riding High (Bet Now: $6.50) is the fresh blood. 2/2 over the Hurdles for Henry Dwyer, showing a brilliant turn of foot late to win his first Hurdle start at Pakenham before going to the Champion Novice Hurdle where he wasn’t flash over the jumps, but his flat speed and a lovely ground saving trip from Tom Sadler won him the race. Good test here, but he’s on the up.

Long Shot

I’m wary of 4 Woodsman (Bet Now: $5.50). I was all over him in the Galleywood, and the market liked him too, but he was awful to the eye. Was vetted and found to be lame, so clear excuse there. Then went to the Casterton Cup and gave a great sight at odds, tiring late behind Under Oath. Back to the jumps, Blinkers off noteworthy…if he brings his best, he’s right in this.

Race 3. (13:25) Australian Steeplechase 3900m

Back Me

A more positive steer and I think 3 Slowpoke Rodriguez (Bet Now: $2.50) can take this out. IMO, Lee Horner rode him far too negatively in the Brierly, and by the time he got going, it was too late and the horse couldn’t sustain an 800m-1000m run to the line, eventually finishing fourth. He’ll have no trouble with 3900m, in the right stable and I don’t see anything wanting to tear along in front, so hopefully won’t be far away and his flat speed can come to the fore.


I like 1 Bit Of A Lad (Bet Now: $7.00) back to this sort of trip. I just don’t think he sees out the toughness of the 5500m in the Grand Annual, but in saying that, he ran a very honest race, and to be fair, the winner Ablaze does look, potentially, a world class jumper. Back to around the 4000m trip looks the go for this guy and is one of the hardest to beat.

Long Shot

2 Shamal (Bet Now: $5.50) is one of the more fascinating runners on the program. Amy McDonald trains this former Kiwi, who makes his Australian debut. When he’s on, he was one of the best jumpers in NZ, but he can be hit and miss. If you go through his form, plenty of times there he has either fell or failed to finish. Trial win was strong and Pateman rides.

Race 4. (14:05) Samson Handicap 1200m

Back Me

I think Anthony Freedman can win this race with either of his runners. I think gate one and the way this track plays, leaning towards 3 Soul Obsession (Bet Now: $4.80). Loved the way she dashed clear of her rivals to win first up at Mornington before going to the Queen Adelaide at Morphettville where she raced keen back off the speed and resented it I think. Forgive that run and from the gate, suspect Zahra holds up and at Lakeside, on speed/rail is a big advantage.


2 La Mexicana (Bet Now: $2.80) certainly looks to have her share of talent. Don’t think she beat a great deal on debut at Ballarat, but was most impressive in the way she went through her gears in front and was far too good for them, running solid time relative to the meeting. Likely sits outside Soul Obsession and think that pair can control the race.

Long Shot

6 Starelle (Bet Now: $9.00) is a daughter of More Than Ready on debut for the Danny O’Brien team. This filly has had a couple of jumpouts to get her ready for start one, the latest at Flemington when under light riding on speed but looked to go about her business quite nicely I thought. On breeding, should be fine on wet ground and Olly steers.

Race 5. (14:40) Ladbrokes Same Race Multi Handicap (84 2100m

Back Me

Going the way of 2 Sentimentalist (Bet Now: $3.50) for Mark Pegus. Fended off the Group l winner Mr Quickie to win the VOBIS Gold Heath two back at Caulfield before being given a mini freshen up, came back to 1800m, and wasn’t too bad in defeat behind Shot Of Irish. Should lead these up for fun and that set is ideal for Dwayne Dunn, who loves to stack them up and control things in front.


7 Clementina (Bet Now: $3.80) is a Danny O’Brien trained mare that can be hard to trust, but credit to her, she’s racing well. Olly lifted her over the line to win at this track/distance two back before going to Warrnambool where she worked home well from the back when third to Sasko. Back to 2100m should be fine…just a matter of where she gets to in the run and whether or not she spots them too big of a start.

Long Shot

6 Kiss And Cry (Bet Now: $4.00) steps up in distance and grade for Cindy Alderson but she’s a mare in form. Ran over 1800m on the Hillside track last start where she got back in the run and despite drifting about under pressure, she was strongest to the line in winning. Racing as if 2100m will be okay, and this is a winnable race I think.

Race 6. (15:15) Ladbrokes Switch Handicap (64) 1300m

Back Me

Going to take a chance with 2 Iscariot (Bet Now: $8.50), who was formerly with Will Clarken but is now with Enver Jusufovic. Showed good talent when racing in Adelaide and was a metro winner over there, so he’s got the ability to measure up here one would suggest. Better suited over further, but loved his recent Cranbourne jumpout win over 1000m, so the grounding is there for him to run a beauty fresh.


6 Jolly Sailor (Bet Now: $9.00) is a Henry Dwyer trained gelding that has had two career outings. Gave them a proper spanking on debut at Wodonga before going to Donald just over two weeks ago, but really, it was a barrier trial for him. Didn’t get a clear run at all in the straight and if you were on, it was just an ugly, ugly watch. Have to give him a chance here.

Long Shot

1 Truffle House (Bet Now: $13.00) certainly has the engine under the hood to take this out. Loved the way he let down to win first up at Echuca before going to Bendigo and working home well behind the boom 3YO Masked Crusader. He’s over a month between runs but tuned up with a nice hitout on Tuesday at the Bendigo jumpouts.

Race 7. (15:45) Ladbrokes Cash In Handicap (70) 1200m

Back Me

7 Forbid Me Not (Bet Now: $11.00) is the one for me. Recent form was plain, but her effort at Warrnambool last time out suggested she might be back on track. She should have won, simple as that. Just had no luck in the straight when seemingly having plenty to offer and burst through late, full of running to finish a close up fourth. Just hope Rawiller can take advantage of barrier one and be closer to the speed. If that eventuates, she’ll take some beating.


Good test here for 9 Galenus (Bet Now: $2.00) but he does appear above average. Patrick Payne trained three year old that had his first run for the stable at Cranbourne under the lights when leading throughout and burning the candle at both ends in an impressive mainland debut. Has the right racing pattern for this track and is hard to run down.

Long Shot

3 Yeldarb (Bet Now: $15.00) could be a sneaky chance here if he gets a suck run on the fence. Comes through the Town Plate at Wagga when back in the run and making up ground late to finish fourth to Irish Songs. Man Of Peace came out and won yesterday whereas Southern Lad didn’t, so the form is mixed, but he maps to stalk Forbid Me Not and the claim helps.

Race 8. (16:15) Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (78) 1400m

Back Me

Back to 1400m I do like for 10 Sonaree (Bet Now: $9.50) so going his way in the get out. Hayes/Dabernig trained son of So You Think who showed really good ticker to win at this track/distance two back before stepping up to the mile on the Hillside track and failed to see the trip out in a race won by Orleans Rock. That form reads well, looks the leader and like the booking of Rodd.


6 Fragment (Bet Now: $5.50) should be close to peak fitness for the Patrick Payne team. Not sure he handled the Pakenham Synthetic first up behind Secret Vega before going to Cranbourne and liked the way he finished his race off when fourth to Victoria Star. Like that the stable finds Willow to steer and should get a lovely run from the gate.

Long Shot

I don’t think there was any fluke about the win of 2 Ballet Master (Bet Now: $11.00) last start. Yes, he was big odds, but he was wide throughout near a good speed yet was the strongest late in a battle with the heavily backed Mean Mister. You’d think he holds a forward spot from gate one and if he repeats the effort of last start, he’s right in the mix.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Three Number 3 Slowpoke Rodriguez

NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 7 Forbid Me Not

LONG SHOT: Race One Number 4 Flying Agent


Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 2, 6, 7

Leg Two: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Leg Three: 3, 5, 7, 9

Leg Four: 2, 6, 8, 10

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