Today I’m riding at Sandown. The rail is out 8 metres on the Lakeside circuit and the track is rated in the good range. This first three races on the card are jumps races with the features being the Australian Hurdle and Australian Steeplechase.
Race 5 is the BM78 Ladbrokes Punter Assist Handicap over 2100 metres. My ride here is MILESTONE (FR) who is trained by Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young. This five-year-old gelding by Mastercraftsman is raced by OTI Racing and partners. He is an imported galloper who started his career in France and won his maiden over 2400 metres at Chantilly. At his next start he finished third in a Listed raced behind San Huberto who has also been imported to Australia and finished third in the 2020 Sandown Cup and second in a Listed race at Caulfield earlier this year. Milestone hasn’t won a race since his maiden win in 2019 but has been racing consistently well. He races here third-up this preparation and carries the minimum weight of 54 kilos in this race. On his best form he can make his presence felt.
Race 6 is the BM78 Ladbrokes Same Race Multi Handicap over 1400 metres. My ride here is KAZIO who is trained by Aaron Purcell. This seven-year-old gelding by Foreplay has had 42 starts for a record of five wins and 17 placings. Two runs ago he finished fifth behind Inn Keeper who subsequently went on to win the Wangoom Handicap at his next start. Last start Kazio contested a 1400m handicap at Warrnambool where he finished unplaced but only 3.5 lengths from the winner. He is a winner from his only attempt at this course and distance, and the 1400 metres is his most preferred distance with him recording four wins and 10 placings from 18 runs. He returns to racing in benchmark grade today and if he runs to his best form he will be one of the main chances.
Race 7 is the BM64 Ladbrokes Switch Handicap over 1300 metres for three-year-old’s. My ride here is FOXY FRIDA who is trained by Andrew Noblet. This filly by Foxwedge has had four starts for a record of one win and three second placings. Her maiden win came at her most recent start on soft ground over 1200 metres at Ballarat. She comes into this race with confidence from her last start win and will be at peak fitness for her third-up run. This is a very competitive field and no doubt she will continue to race up to her consistent record and be a contender in this.
Race 8 is the BM70 Samson Handicap over 1200 metres. My ride here is FREE TO MOVE who is trained by Ken & Kasey Keys. This three-year-old gelding by Unencumbered has had nine starts for a record of two wins and three placings, with one of his third placings being in Listed grade. After his last preparation he was spelled in December 2020 and only resumed this campaign with his first-up run over 1000 metres at the start of May. He races here second-up and the step up in distance will suit him as he has winning form over 1200 metres. He will start from a favourable barrier draw which will give him every opportunity to gain an economical run in transit and run his best race.