2018 Zipping Classic betting preview
With only 1 runner of the 8 at double-figure odds, we’re here to help dissect what shapes to be a very tough race.
Only a few millimetres of rain forecast prior to race day, the track should present in the good range. The hillside track has had plenty of rest and unsurprisingly the rail is in the true. Strong on-pacers should be hard to run down but the wide spaces will give those back in the field their chance. Tempo will be crucial.
The Williams pair The Taj Mahal and Sir Isaac Newton look to hold the aces based on the map. Both should race in on-pace positions with The Taj Mahal likely dictating. Up with them will be Dal Harraild. Lord Fandango will be mid-field with Ventura Storm sliding across on its outside. Libran and Who Shot Thebarman will be back as per usual and Our Libretto will have a task going back to last from gate 1.
The Key Runners:
2. Ventura Storm (Barrier 8) (M. Zhara 59kg): $7*
Gets back on top of the ground here after finishing 11 lengths astern of Cross Counter in last week’s Melbourne Cup. Last time he saw good ground he was heavily backed late and took out the G2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup over 2500m in fast time beating subsequent Group 1 winner (at a huge SP) Trap For Fools by 0.4L. Comes here for his 7th run this preparation, he’s a risk of training off with this race seeming a bit of an afterthought.
3. Libran (Barrier 6) (M. Walker 59kg): $7*
Another galloper presenting for his 7th run this preparation. Unlike Ventura Storm, this gelding presents on the back of a quality effort over 2600m in the Queen Elizabeth last weekend. He had genuine excuses there, heavily bumped with around 300m left just as he started working through his gears. Picked himself back up to still run 3rd. Was only beaten just over 1L by Ventura Storm in the Valley Gold Cup the start prior. The wide spaces of Sandown should give him every chance here.
4. The Taj Mahal (Barrier 7) (B. Melham 59kg): $4*
After a gutsy victory in the JRA Cup over 2040m, he has been given absolutely no chance at his last two starts. Set alight 800m from home after being wide no cover the trip in the Caulfield Cup, he still plugged away into 5th. Both Best Solution and Youngstar were huge in the Melbourne Cup out of that event. Similarly, Melham seemed content to sit deep with no cover on speed in the Valley Gold Cup last start and he weakened accordingly to finish over 5 lengths from Ventura Storm who had the perfect run. He maps to get absolute control here with a three week freshen assisting him to get over those tough runs. Was a massive winner of this race last year, walking past Melbourne Cup winner Almandin and bolting in by 3.5 lengths.
6. Lord Fandango (Barrier 3) (J. Allen 59kg): $8*
Was sensationally backed late in the Bendigo Cup: $6 into $3.80 favourite. Ran accordingly well, steaming down the outside to finishing less than 1L from the winner with a race shape against him. The good ground will suit and 2400m is his ideal trip, having won a G2 Herbert Power over 2400m and placed in last year’s Caulfield Cup. The query is his health having been scratched last-start due to showing signs of Colic. Archie Alexander has said he’s 100% and we’ll be trusting him.
7. Dal Harraild (Barrier 4) (K. McEvoy 59kg): $6*
A winner of two listed events overseas, he presents in Australia third-up ready to peak. Improved significantly second up in the Bendigo Cup when running a narrow second to Red Alto. He did get a favourable race shape there but looks to receive much the same here. Despite his good record over the 2400m course, he may be short of his best distance in Australia. Even with Kerrin McEvoy sticking he seems very well-found at $6. We have him and Lord Fandango much closer.
8. Our Libretto (Barrier 1) (D. Lane 57kg): $5*
Certainly, the most interesting runner to asses. Tasted Australian defeat for the first time in the G2 Matriarch Stakes last start over 2000m. She acquitted herself well there, running on with minimal room to finish only 1.3L from Kenedna. Her $9.50 SP from that event has to be respected here despite the bunched finish and numerous hard luck stories. A winner at this track over 1600m, beating the smart Shoko. Barrier 1 is a definite negative as she’ll be spotting some battle-hardened males a few lengths with only 2kg to her advantage. But that’s her natural pattern. She has the upside but that’s well reflected in her short quote.
Still just enough value in The Taj Mahal’s price to make him a result. Lord Fandango looks over the odds too. Backing both runners for an equal collect.
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