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Almanac Racing: Sandown Jumpers and Brisbane’s Carnival

Sandown Lakeside will this Saturday host Victoria’s metropolitan meeting, featuring two premier jumps races among an otherwise competitive nine-race card.


The Australian Steeplechase, over 3400 metres, is the day’s third race. At time of writing, the Patrick Payne-trained Zed Em was a narrow favourite ahead of four others in single figures including Wells, last year’s runner-up. I was fortunate enough to attend Oakbank’s Easter carnival back this year and saw Zed Em win the Von Doussa Steeple, before he backed up at Warrnambool to claim the Brierly. Those credentials are good enough to beat this year’s field in my opinion, however there is always a great amount of apprehension when wagering on a jumps race.


The Australian Hurdle follows the Steeple, with smaller obstacles the only difference to race conditions. The Weir-trained Renew, which I tipped to win at Flemington last week (it flopped), comes into this year’s edition with an unblemished record over the jumps and will start favourite unless there’s a big push for another runner. The defending champion, Arch Fire, will carry top weight with Jamie Mott aboard.


The fifth race is a flat race over 2400 metres, where a Williams-owned British import makes its Australian debut. Kilimanjaro’s last start was in the 2015 Irish Derby, where it finished a long fourth, but it’s an intriguing storyline for a horse rated as a $7 chance in a benchmark 90. The Hickmott stable has shown in the past that it can prepare horses to be ready to win off extremely long breaks, and with the Williams family behind it Kilimanjaro might be an exciting prospect. Oddly enough, the Williams/Hickmott team have the race’s favourite, Goathland. Also lured over from Britain, Goathland is a win and a second placing from three Australian starts. I think number 10, Lautaro, may cause an upset at decent odds.


The quaddie begins with a pretty average mile race. Plein Ciel will start as favourite and will be difficult to beat, however I rated Guizot as a good chance last weekend before it was scratched, so it’s worth including in exotics.


If you follow on social media you may have seen the antics of one of the owners of in-form horse Pedrena after its last-start win at Caulfield a fortnight ago. Such boisterous scenes has an endearing effect, and I hope it wins again in the seventh race this Saturday. It will go in as one of the best chances, rising to the mile for the first time but staying in benchmark 78 grade.


Race eight is tricky to read, with a chunk of the field coming in with similar form references. Widgee Turf will start as favourite, however I have Zamzam ahead of it after winning last start when they met at Flemington. Royal Ace finished strongest to win a 1200 metre race during the Warrnambool carnival, its third from just four career starts. It represents good value at double-figure odds.


The last is a wide-open affair. I wasn’t excited by any of the favourites, so I’m lowering my vision to runner number 17, Don’t Get Excited. Saluted in a canter as the front-runner second-up at Donald and has drawn barrier two this Saturday, meaning that it can have the race on its terms. At $41 it may be worth searching for a few coins from beneath the sofa cushions and lobbing it each-way (depending on how much you find) on Don’t Get Excited.


Eagle Farm this Saturday hosts an eight-race meeting exaggerated by the fact that seven of them have been given status as group quality. Nevertheless, the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup has some top notch horses galloping, including Black Heart Bart. BHB was beaten as favourite in the Goodwood, but that was surely an aberration. Best of the rest includes Jungle Edge, which won the Group 3 BRC Sprint a week ago, and Derryn, both of which should handle the soft track well.


After a brief look at the other races up north, Top Tone in the first appeals as being good value in the opening event.


About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. Tom,

    I’ll back Morgans in the last at Sandown, because that is my MO. Looking to Eagle Farm to find a winner and I am going to try all Donna Logan and Stephen Autridge runners (Kiwis in Queensland at this time of year, another of many MO’s) A couple are at good to extremely good odds. While a lot of the top tier New Zealand horse aren’t generally quite up to the our gooduns, I reckon they might have targeted the second and third tier, and heavy ground certainly helps their cause.

    Not a bad call re Don’t Get Excited. Showed a fair amount of talent early days, and if he finds half of that, might be a good e/w chance.

  2. Welcome back Elvis. You have way too many MOs for me to track. What about the Perth horses?

  3. Tom Riordan says

    Don’t Get Excited is scratched. But don’t get discouraged! Also scratched from Morphetville, it has accepted to run in tomorrow’s Echuca Cup.

  4. Tom,

    Thanks for the update Tom re Curb Your Enthusiasm. If I hit even a four today, I will have something on him in the Echuca Cup tomorrow..

  5. Heading to Glenelg Oval with Jock the Genius…expect to be full of Morphettville knowledge by the Quaddy legs. Good luck all!

  6. Crio probably learnt 3 things
    1. The bays are not premiership material
    2. Jock has gone cold on the punt
    3a. Roger memorises every gear change in Australia
    3b.Roger doesn’t know how to turn on data on his phone so everyone else has to be a results service

    Elvis, Multiple MO’s, nice one, who would have thought.

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