The final meeting of the Spring Carnival will be held at Sandown on Saturday. The Sandown track was rated a Dead 4 on Thursday and with showers forecast for Melbourne, the track should remain at the Dead range on race day.
The main feature for the meeting is the Group 2 Sandown Classic (Melbourne Race 6, 2400m). Mourayan and Precedence are the two horses backing up from last week’s Melbourne Cup and they are also the two horses with solid Weight-For-Age form. Precedence finished 9th in the Melbourne Cup but he has never won beyond 2500m so the two miles may not suit him. Back to 2400m will be more to his liking. Mourayan won the Craven Plate before his courageous 7th in the Melbourne Cup. The Cup was run at a slow pace and Mourayan was a bit one paced and he couldn’t sprint with them in the straight. The Sandown Classic is a much weaker race and at Weight-For-Age, Mourayan should be too good for them.
The Sandown Guineas (Melbourne Race 7, 1600m) has some nice three year olds engaged. The Bart Cummings trained Lunar Rise was impressive winning the Carbine Club Stakes 1600m on Derby day. And Bart’s former champion Saintly also won this race in the Spring of 1995. Could Lunar Rise emulate the achievement of Saintly? Probably not, nonetheless Lunar Rise is still an impressive type. But he’s been allotted barrier 14 and that’s a real concern. The Peter Snowden trained Proverb has good formline. He came from a long way back in the Carbine Club Stakes and struck interference at the 400m and eventually finished 3rd behind Lunar Rise beaten only 1.3 lengths. From barrier 3, Steven Arnold should settle along the fence and give Proverb a nice run. Currently at $5.00 fixed odds, Proverb is my pick for the Guineas.
In the Sandown Cup (Melbourne Race 3, 3200m), race favourite Ironstein is backing up from the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2600m last week where he finished 2nd. His form has been consistent this Spring without winning and he was beaten by a good horse in Puissance de Lune last start. The Luca Cumani trained Ibicenco missed a start in the Melbourne Cup when he finished an unlucky 4th in the Nexus Stakes after being blocked for a run in the straight. We know he could certainly stay the two miles and Glen Boss should be able to give him a nice trail in the race coming out from gate 2. Ibicenco should make up for missing a run in the Melbourne Cup by winning the Sandown Cup.
By Owens Wong, Editor