This afternoon I’m riding at Sandown for the twilight meeting. The rail is out three metres on the Lakeside circuit and the track is rated in the good range.
Race 1 is the Ladbrokes Switch Plate over 1200 metres for three-year-olds. My ride here is ENGAGE who is trained by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes. This three-year-old filly by So You Think is raced by Rupert Legh and partners. She is making her raceday debut today and I’ve ridden her in two jumpouts in preparation for today. The first time I rode her in a jumpout was at Flemington and I rode her again last Friday at Werribee. She is a filly with good natural speed and has been very well educated by the stable. If she brings her jumpout form to the races she will make her presence felt against this small field.
Race 3 is the BM78 Ladbrokes Back Yourself Hcp over 2400 metres. My ride here is BEAU BALMAIN (GER) who is trained by Jim Conlan. This imported galloper by It’s Gino (GER) has had 23 starts for a record of three wins and six minor placings. When he first arrived in Australia he was tested at stakes level and produced some good runs without winning. His only win in Australia has been over the jumps where he won his maiden hurdle at Ballarat over 3400 metres at the end of his last preparation. He’s had two runs this campaign and is stepping up to 2400 metres today. He is racing up in grade from last start and drops in weight to the minimum of 54 kilos. No doubt he will be on a path towards targeting jumps racing again this season as he seems to be talented over the hurdles.
Race 4 is the BM70 Clanbrooke Racing Handicap over 1600 metres. My ride here is PALE KING (FR) who is trained by Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes. This four-year-old imported gelding by Dabirsim (FR) is raced by Rupert Legh and partners. He’s had two starts and is undefeated in his career. He made his debut in England on the synthetic at Lingfield over 2400 metres where he was impressive in winning. He made his Australian debut in BM64 grade at Kembla Grange over 1600 metres in October of last year where he won by an official margin of 0.2 of a length. I rode him in a jumpout on Friday in preparation for his return to the races and it was good to have a sit on him prior to raceday. He will start from a wide barrier in this small field and is a horse that will naturally be better over further distances than the mile of today, but he certainly looks to be an exciting horse with a good future. If he runs up to the feel he gave me in his jumpout he should be able to remain unbeaten.
Race 5 is the Class 1 Ladbrokes Easy Form Handicap over 1300 metres. My ride here is CELESTIAL SOL who is trained by Chris Waller. This three-year-old colt by Fighting Sun has had eight starts for a record of one win and two minor placings and races first-up today. I know this horse really well as I rode him in his last four starts at the end of that preparation where he competed in Group and Listed company and I was impressed with his performances. He races first-up today and drops back in grade to Class 1 company. This looks to be a nice, winnable race for him and I’m looking forward to seeing how he has matured from last campaign. If he returns and runs up to his best form, he is the horse they all have to beat.
Race 6 is the BM64 Tile Importer Handicap over 1300 metres for three-year-old fillies. My ride here is LADY DEVEREAUX who is trained by Clinton McDonald. This daughter of Pierro is raced by Dominic Romanelli and partners. She’s had four starts for one win which came in Maiden grade at Mornington last preparation over 1500 metres on heavy ground. She is a filly that the stable must have a high opinion of as she was tested in Group 2 company at the end of her last preparation in the Spring where she ran in the Wakeful Stakes. She runs first-up today and her recent jumpout in preparation for her return looked to be a solid effort. She is a horse that gets back in the field, so will need the race run to suit her racing style and the track to race accordingly. I’m looking forward to seeing how she presents pre-race and having my first ride on her.
Race 7 is the BM70 Ladbrokes Odds Boost Hcp over 1400 metres. My ride here is FARETTI who is trained by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott. This four-year-old gelding by I Am Invincible has had 10 starts for a record of two wins and two third placings. He’s done most of his racing in Sydney but resumed this campaign in Melbourne. He’s had two runs this preparation in Melbourne, finishing unplaced and just over 3.5 lengths from the winner over 1200 metres at this course first-up, before winning last start in BM64 grade at Sandown on the Hillside track over 1300 metres where he looked good in his effort. He will have taken a good amount of confidence from his last start win and will be at peak fitness third-up. He is a horse in-form that makes his own luck by racing on-speed and he will take a lot of beating in this.