Sandown Hillside Preview: Monday 22 April


Track: Good 4

Rail: +4m entire

Weather: Light Sunday shower, fine race day

We head to the Hillside track for Easter Monday racing in Melbourne where a Sunday shower will see us flirting with a Soft 5 track rating – but at this stage, we’ll plan for a Good surface and minimal bias.


Speed map/race shape: Order of Valour and Flirting look to have the most speed of the exposed horses from First Responder and Oh So Rewarding in the first race over 1000m.

Advantaged runners: Five of the 12 make their first appearance here. There’s a few coming through strong form lines. ABSOLUTE FLIRT is first up, having chased home Hawker Hurricane and Yes Yes Yes at two runs last prep. That ties her in with FIRST RESPONDER, who was 1.5L back from Yes Yes Yes in the oft-replayed Brooklyn Hustle debut. Both are first up so concede a fitness advantage to THE EXECUTIONER who is nearing another win after racing in strong company at all three runs this prep. FLIRTING was tough on pace on debut and will be up there again. Market watch on all debutants.


Speed map/race shape: Another race from the 1000m dog leg start and there’s plenty of speed engaged. There’s half a dozen candidates to lead, namely (inside to out) Rushford, Miss Street, Rock Hard, Valrouz, Not Enough Effort and Delvecchio.

Advantaged runners: This looks a particularly hard race to sort out. The unbeaten NOT ENOUGH EFFORT and DELVECCHIO take up huge market percentage. The former looked to have plenty of talent but a fair bit to learn on debut, while the latter has already proven himself in this grade over 1200m. Ultimately they’ve drawn barrier 14 and 16 respectively and there isn’t a lot of value. MISS STREET has put up a picket fence but ultimately needs to lug 62kgs after the claim to win! That seems a tough ask for the mare in a high pressure affair. THORONDOR has Stakes credentials but also has a big weight and doesn’t seem genuine to our eye. So where to look then? MCGARRETT has been freshened after six runs this prep and looks to possess a strong finish. Soo too does THE SISTERS who swooped home on debut over this trip. Both are options but there’s no desperation to bet here.


Speed map/race shape: Absolute Heaven and Lecture appear the obvious leaders and you wouldn’t expect too many challengers. Perhaps Feather and Tha Card Players can be among the runners landing close to the speed.

Advantaged runners: Another BM64 with muddled form lines everywhere, reflected by an open early betting market. Thinking the on-pacers have the call. LECTURE ran into Music Bay at this venue second up. She’s a handy filly with more to give. ABSOLUTE HEAVEN has been freshened after being unable to hold off La Tigressa and co at this venue. They’ll provide the likes of FEATHER a nice cart into the race. She was no match for Persian Empire (subsequently won again) last time but looks well placed here. From further back, RADIANT WARRIOR has found the line well at both runs this prep and could enjoy the extra trip.


Speed map/race shape: Young Hostess draws barrier two and doesn’t look to have many challengers for the front. The long run to the first turn should allow wide runners like Skyway Star, Accordingly and Express Raider time to push on and race forward.

Advantaged runners: The fillies look to have the upper hand over the older mares here. SKYWAY STAR has improved as the distance has increased throughout her prep, culminating in a maiden victory over the mile last start. She’ll get this run to suit again in front but will have a task to hold out stablemate NORDIC SYMPHONY who didn’t have much go her way against arguably stronger opponents last time. Similar story for DARK CONFIDANT who will appreciate the extra trip as much as any horse here after only getting wound up late at Pakenham. PRISM is an All Too Hard filly who needs this trip and will be grinding away.


Speed map/race shape: Good speed expected over the 1300m with a few of these fillies intent on going forward. A cluster from wide that includes Alexandra Dreaming, Gaelic Dream and Snitz And The City will perhaps look to cross Kootara and Lady Day for the front.

Advantaged runners: Plenty of value on offer if there’s one you like. Of the on-pacers, ALEXANDRA DREAMING brings the strongest credentials but like those around her may use up some petrol early. This sets it up for the closers, most prominently FIDELIA, provided barrier one isn’t a curse. She’ll look to settle midfield and extricate herself for a finishing burst. FABRIC may be in a better position to build momentum down the outside and can build on her first up win. DIAMOND BLISS can bounce off her resuming effort to feature, while VIVI VALENTINA’s form through Wham deserves respect in this field.


Speed map/race shape: Chavuma has enough early toe to cross to the front from barrier 12, dragging Floral Fever and Tried And Tired over with him. Dancing Tycopon should also poke up into a handy spot from barrier two, ensuring a genuine enough tempo.

Advantaged runners: A few of these have been around for a while and found their level, leading us to the progressive types. DANCING TYCOON will race handily and is overdue to win again. She’s 2kgs better off than her last start second. MONTASTER may have her back on the inside and his first up effort behind the promising Zoutori was strong, third has since win. BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER is chasing a hat-trick and should also be presented with every chance from a midfield spot. Import MASTER OF WINE looks to have been prepared well for his first Australian assignment. From further back, MA JONES is the older horse we’re most wary of – she spent her last prep chasing Miss Siska and Naantali, that’s now Group 1 form!


Speed map/race shape: Don’t anticipate too much speed in this, but Tiffany’s Lass and Pour Vous should be taking up the running early from Wee Gilly and Fanciful Toff.

Advantaged runners: A couple of key runners dominate the early market here. Team Williams import BASS was hard to miss on Australian debut. He stormed home against the pattern of the day here over 1800m, his first race start for 636 days. Here he steps up in trip but has handled it before, running Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling to five lengths over a similar trip in the G2 Curragh Cup. He should be winning from FANCIFUL TOFF who was run down late last start but has the 2400m fitness base. Of the remainder, BATTLECAMP finished well in the Bass race and Wee Gilly had no luck at his last go over this distance.


Speed map/race shape: Sirkos should have no trouble rolling to the front here and doing things at his own pace over the 1800m. The likes of Heir To The Throne, Tavirun and Rakovsky all have the opportunity to race handily.

Advantaged runners: This is a bit of a messy race. Note TYSONIC will come out after running Saturday. PAINT THE TOWN TWO can feature if she makes the most of the inside gate and races midfield or better. She won over 1500m last time going away from them and the extra trip suits. HEIR TO THE THRONE can also be prominent, he keeps finding one or two better but always races in an advantaged position. Similar story for TAVIRUN this prep, he kept grinding away once the winner passed him last time and he’s ready third up. From further back HULME and SAVAHEAT have genuine claims at double figure odds, while former Derby horse GREYCLIFFE is a smokey after winning last time at Ballarat, albeit in average time. Not sure LATIN BEAT has the same improvement left as the others but he could show up.

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