Racing returns to Sandown after last racing here on New Year’s Day.
Victoria and NSW have sizzled over the weekend, but the temperatures have plummeted over recent days. Wednesday is forecast to be a mild 26C after and overnight minimum on 14C.
The false rail will be moved out to the five-metre position after they raced at the True Position on January 1. The track will be perfect with irrigation seeing the track rated at a Good 3.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 1 – 3,7 – 1,10 – 2,11
Wide Play: 1,2 – 3,7,8,11 – 1,5,10 – 2,6,10,11
BEST BET: R5 – 1. NATURE STRIP
Next Best Bet: R7 –1. BELWAZI
Best Roughie: R1 – 7. SHALYA
No7 SHALYA (BEST ROUGHIE) has yet to miss a placing at her two starts in the country. Makes her city debut after third in a 1000m maiden against fillies at Yara Valley on December 28. She was caught three deep that day and chased hard to finish 1.25 lengths from the winner. The draw in gate 14 hurts but has good prospects.
No2 BOBBY ROCKS looms as one of the main chances on her exposed form this campaign. Was having her second start back from a spell when finishing a close second over 1200m Fillies’ maiden at Mornington on January 1. Has a good draw in gate five and expect support in the betting.
No3 BOSSY ROSE has an important gear change with the blinkers going on for the first time. Ran a good third over 1200m maiden at Echuca on December 20. That was three weeks ago and was against the males. Here she faces her own age and sex and is from the top yard of Darren Weir.
*SCRATCHED* No5 LOOK BEHIND is having her first start for new trainer Robert Hickmott. She gets the addition of blinkers for the first time and battled on steadily when running sixth over 1200m maiden here on December 20. That was against the males and against only fillies here. Bears respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 SHAYLA
No12 MADAM STOWELL ran a cracking second over 1600m maiden at Cranbourne on December 22. That was second-up from a long spell and top jockey Linda Meech keeps the ride on the four-year-old mare. Has been placed twice at her three starts over this distance. Looks a serious player.
No9 HERMANITO gets a critical gear change with a tongue-tie going on for the first time. Latest the three-year-old ran a top second over 1400m maiden at Sandown on December 20. Has finished inside the money at all of his three starts and will be highly fancied again.
No7 GRETZKY has the blinkers coming off and the visors going on today. The colt has his first Melbourne start today after two starts in NSW. Latest he ran second in a 1400m maiden at Hawkesbury on December 11. Gets top Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn to ride for Team Hawkes.
No6 BUCKHOUND was never on the track when caught three deep throughout before finishing second over 1400m maiden at Echuca on December 20. Senior jockey James Winks replaces a 2kg apprentice today and expect the gelding to strip fitter for having made his debut.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 BUCKHOUND
No8 RAINDROPS ON ROSES scored a tenacious win over 2000m against her own sex at Mornington on December 13 before being raised in class and running 13th over 2000m at Flemington on January 1. Cory Parish replaces Craig Williams and has no weight on 54kg and is well drawn in four.
No3 CRAFTY DEVIL did not have the best of runs before finishing fifth over 2040m at Moonee Valley on December 23. She won two straight over 2050m and 2040m at Moe and The Valley in October and November and will be cherry ripe for this with top jockey John Allen to ride here.
No1 GOODWOOD ZODIAC could again take control from the front and try to dictate. Led before finishing a close third over 2400m at Caulfield on December 26. The Irish bred gelding again carries 60kg and Stephen Baster is back on board. Looks well drawn in gate seven today.
No10 EATON won over 2000m at Werribee three starts ago. Last start he ran a top third over 2000m at Flemington on January 1. Apprentice Chris Caserta’s 3kg claim will see him carry no weight on 51kg and he is a son of High Chaparral so the rise in distance won’t be an issue. Keep safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 RAINDROPS ON ROSES
No5 RANSOM MONEY had to fight tooth and nail before getting the head in front and posting a narrow win over 1500m at Moonee Valley on December 23. Melbourne’s leading jockey Damian Lane replaces a 2kg apprentice today and is fairly weighted on 57.5kg here.
No2 DOWNHEARTED was having second start back from a spell when finishing a strong fourth over 1400m here on December 30. Was a big drifter in the betting from $8.50 to $16 that day, but don’t expect those odds today. Damien Oliver replaces a 3kg apprentice, which is a bonus.
No6 FAST PLAN is looking to break successive seconds at Seymour and Warrnambool. Latest ran a strong second over 1400m at Warrnambool on December 31. Has the perfect alley in gate one and had no luck last start when trapped deep and was held up ion running.
No1 IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS leading trainer Darren Weir has booked apprentice Ethan Brown’s 2kg claim to reduce his impost down to 60kg. Was backed from $5.50 into $4.40 that day and has solid form at Morphettville, Geelong and Caulfield. Looks an each-way chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS
No1 NATURE STRIP (BEST BET) has won twice and been placed second once at three starts. Last start was a hot favourite at $1.85 and won like a good thing kicking away to a 5.5 length win over 1000m at Moonee Valley on November 17. Goes up a half-kilo to 60.5kg today and looks one of the best bets on this card from barrier five. Better than bank interest at $1.80 favouritism.
No2 HOLY SEAL with the claim of Ethan Brown will have his weight reduced to 57.5kg and last-start winner here.
No7 FRANKEL MY DEAR is a well-bred three-year-old who was heavily backed fresh last campaign.
No3 STRELA can’t knock first-up win at Mornington from a spell and rates as one of the better chances.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 STELA
No7 MUTARAKEM had a perfect start to career here with a smart win over 1800m on December 30. The five-year-old was backed from $12 into $8.50 and got the money. He gets top Melbourne jockey Damien Oliver and carries the same weight on 56.5kg today. Looks a good chance.
No3 ADATTO was a brilliant winner over 1800m here on December 20. Was easy in the betting at $6.50 out to $8, but flew home to win by 3 lengths. Drops a half-kilo to 58.5kg today and James Winks rides again From barrier three rates most highly.
No5 TRANQUIL MISS was a fighting win at Sale two starts ago. Latest was resuming from a seven-week break when finishing third over 1500m against her own sex on January 3. With Mitchell Aitken’s 3kg claim her weight is down to 54.5kg today. Plummets a massive 5kgs here and would keep safe.
No11 GOLD ARTISAN was plunged from $11 into $7.50 and ran a top race to finish second over 1600m here on January 3. The four-year-old drops 2.5kg to the limit on 54kg here and Dwayne Dunn stays on board. He is rock hard fit and looms as an each-way chance today.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 GOLD ARTISAN
No1 BELWAZI (NEXT BEST BET) has been a golden vein for her owners winning four times and placed second at six starts. Was a steady $2.20 favourite when finishing second over 955m at Moonee Valley on December 15. With apprentice Stephanie Thornton’s 3kg claim will carry 60.5kg today over the 1000m dash. Claimed a hat-trick before her last-start defeat and can take the rebound here.
No5 PLENTY TO LIKE gets in nicely on weights on 57.5kg with Chris Caserta’s 3kg claim. Good chance.
No10 DIVERTENTE has been in outstanding form winning brilliantly first-up and running a good second at her next start.
No6 CASQUE has the speed to be up on the pace and should get a nice run from behind.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 DIVERENTE
No11 SOHOOL was on the quick back up when finishing third over 1400m here on December 30. Ran a solid third over 1300m here 10 days before and with the 3kg claim of apprentice Ethan Brown will carry 55kg – a drop of 3kg on last start. Looks a chance in an open field.
No2 SOVEREIGN DUKE was an imposing 5.25 lengths win over 975m at Swan Hill three starts ago. Latest ran a top second over 1000m here on December 30 when carrying 60kg. Will again carry 60kg today with the 3kg claim. That was his first start here and was closing strongly that day.
No10 MISSILE BOOM raced away to a strong 1.25 length win over 1300m at Cranbourne on December 16. Senior jockey Jamie Mott keeps the ride and will carry 58.5kg – which is a kilo less than last start. That was the gelding’s second start back from a spell and loves this distance. Makes good appeal.
*SCRATCHED* No8 TRIS scored her fourth career win with a smart victory over 1200m at Colac on December 16. She gets the 3kg claim of apprentice Tahlia Hope to reduce her impost down to 56kg. Goes well at this track but barrier 14 is a setback for her today. Each-way.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 TRIS