Today I’m riding at Sandown on the Hillside circuit. The rail is out four metres and the track is rated in the good range.
Race 2 is the Class 1 IVE > Print Handicap over 1600 metres, my ride here is DECKER who is trained by Phil Sweeney. This four-year-old gelding by Written Tycoon is lightly raced having had just three starts, with his only win coming when he made his debut at Griffith over 1200 metres, which was his first start this preparation. He comes into this fourth-up and is stepping up to the 1600 metres for the first time. He has a barrier extension and a barrier blanket added for the first time and that’s usually something to give horses more confidence in the gates. I’m looking forward to having my first ride on him and this will be his first time racing the Melbourne way of going, so I’ll be mindful of helping him around the turn and down the hill.
Race 3 is the BM64 Quayclean Handicap over 1400 metres for three-year-old’s, my ride here is IMPERIAL HILTON who is trained by Patrick Payne. This gelding by The Factor races in the colours of Larneuk Stud. He was dominant when winning his maiden in his only start at Ballarat at the start of the month over 1200 metres. He comes into today with confidence from his debut victory and will be more experienced from that run. He is stepping up in class and distance today and will start from a favourable barrier draw, which will give him every opportunity. This looks to be a competitive field but I was impressed with his performance last start and he should take a lot of beating in this.
Race 5 is the BM64 Clanbrooke Racing Handicap over 2400 metres, my ride here is PISSARO who is trained by Michael Kent. This six-year-old gelding by Pierro races in the colours of the Montague family. He’s had 40 starts for a record of three wins and five placings and it’s nearly 12 months since he won his last race. He’s had four runs this preparation and has been racing consistently without winning. He will start from a wide barrier and there looks to be a good amount of pressure in this race, but we will still need luck in running. If he runs up to his best form he can be one of the main chances.
Race 6 is the BM64 Tile Importer Handicap over 1300 metres, my ride here is MATSUMOTO who is trained by Mitchell Beer. This four-year-old entire by Written Tycoon is lightly raced having had three career starts for one win. His win came when he made his debut at Wangaratta in June of this year over 1100 metres. I rode him at his second start in a 3YO Handicap at Caulfield over 1400 metres at the end of the season where he finished just under four lengths behind Mystery Shot, who remains unbeaten. He was then sent for a break from training and resumed this preparation over 1000 metres at Albury, where it looked like they went too fast for him in the early stages before he closed off reasonably well. He steps up in distance for his second-up run and will be fitter with a run under his belt. I felt that he gave me a nice feel when I rode him at the end of last season and expect that he can make his presence felt today.
Race 7 is the BM70 Thoroughbred Club Handicap over 1500 metres, my ride here is NOT MINE (GER) who is trained by Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes. This six-year-old imported gelding by Dabirsim (FR) started his career in Europe before racing in Hong Kong, and has had two runs in Australia. I rode him in trackwork in preparation for his first run in Australia and then rode him in his most recent race start, which was a few weeks ago at Caulfield. He was beaten by less than three lengths on soft ground over 1700 metres at Caulfield by Power Scheme, who has franked the form. I was really pleased with his performance last start and feel the change to his head gear with the winkers off and blinkers on will be an advantage to him, and he should be one of the main contenders in this.