The Group 3 Manfred Stakes and Blue Diamond Previews are the feature events this Thursday at Sandown. It is a fantastic racing card for Australia Day, and several short-priced favourites are expected to get the job done. Will it be a punter’s day for our national holiday, or will the value runners and roughies spoil the party?
Sandown Race 3
#2 The Instructor
The Instructor will start short-priced favourite in the colt and geldings edition of the Blue Diamond Preview. His debut win at Pakenham was effortless and borderline arrogant. Despite being hounded at the 300m, he booted away and stamped himself as a serious prospect. From an inside draw and a run under his belt, he may prove hard to run down.
Krakarib can run well here, dropping back in class. His win at Flemington last start must be respected, and I expect there will be further improvement in the colt by Ribchester as we edge closer to the Blue Diamond. Barrier nine and the 58kg are the major concerns.
There are strong whispers around for the first starter Goodes. With no public jump-outs or barrier trials to reference, I will be watching the market closely. The Freedman camp knows how to find a good two-year-old.
Suggested Bet: The Instructor @ $2.35
Sandown RACE 4
Exploring can win the fillies edition of the Blue Diamond Preview at a reasonable price. The daughter of Brazen Beau was ultra-impressive at Flemington on New Year’s Day, and I expect her to be cherry ripe for this event after a bit of freshen-up. Craig Williams stays with her, and despite the tricky draw, she can figure in the finish.
Aditi will start favourite after an eye-catching debut at Flemington during the spring. The form out of the race has been rock-solid, and she looks hard to beat here, jumping from barrier one. The Jamie Kah and Gai Waterhouse combination must be respected.
Furosshi can run well at cricket score odds. Her debut was honest at Cranbourne, and I expect her to be savaging the line late. She may need some luck with her racing pattern over 1000m.
Suggested Bet: Exploring @ $9.00
Sandown Race 7
#6 Merry Mac Boy
What a great edition of the Group 3 Manfred Stakes!
Jacquinot will start odds-on after a breakthrough preparation. His win in The Golden Rose was outstanding, and his performance in The Everest was out of this world. He looks well placed here, dropping back in grade significantly, and he should get the run of the race from the inside draw. The 59.5kg and the record at a distance are the main concerns.
Merry Mac Boy can cause a boil-over at a decent price. He was game in defeat fresh at the track and distance, and I expect him to produce a peak run second-up from a spell. There has been good early market support for the gelding by I Am Invincible, and I am confident Linda Meech will give him every chance to win despite the awkward barrier.
Ruthless Dame can run well here first up. The unbeaten filly from the Maher and Eustace camp looks talented, and there will be market support with Jamie Kah aboard.
Suggested Bet: Merry Mac Boy @ $9.00
Sandown Race 8
#3 Gentleman Roy
Death, taxes, and Gentleman running well fresh. He loves Sandown and looks well-placed and weighed in this class. The ‘Money Man’ Mark Zahra will have options from a middle gate, and he seems one of the better bets on the program. His 46% career-winning strike rate is impressive, and the Hayes camp is now training winners for fun. He will lead them a merry dance on top of the speed.
Dawn Passage will be thereabouts after an eye-catching fresh performance. She drops significantly in class, and she usually runs well second-up. Snapper showed her a clean pair of heels first-up, but she never shirked the task. She is a must for all multiples and wider exotics.
Catch Twentytwo can run a drum at a reasonable price. He was ok at Flemington, and the gelding by Elusive Fort does his best racing at this distance. Not the worst 30-1 chance going around on Australia Day.
Suggested Bet: Gentleman Roy @ $3.00