Today I’m riding at Sandown on the Hillside circuit. The rail is out 10 metres and the track is rated in the good range.

Race 1 is a 3YO Maiden Plate over 1600 metres, my ride here is AND SHE WAS who is trained by Ken & Kasey Keys. I rode this filly by Shamus Award when she made her debut at this course on the Lakeside circuit over 1400 metres three weeks ago. She started from a wide barrier and was ridden back in the field, it took a lot of encouragement to get her to travel in running, but with firm motivation she really closed the race off well. I expect she will have taken natural improvement from her debut run and it will be interesting to see how she performs on a firmer surface today. She has drawn a wide barrier again today in a smaller field than last start and is stepping up 200 metres in distance, which should be to her advantage. Provided the race works out for her and she has taken natural improvement from her first up effort, she will definitely make her presence felt.

Race 3 is a BM64 3YO Handicap over 1300 metres, my ride here is SQUAMI who is trained by Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra. This gelding by Squamosa runs in the colours of First Light Racing. He’s had four race starts for one win, with all of those being when he was a two-year-old. This will be my first ride on him. He races here second up this preparation and comes into this as a last start winner. He will start from a favourable barrier draw and is stepping up in distance from last start. This is a strong field of three-year-old’s and I expect him to be very competitive in this race as he comes into this full of confidence from his last start win.

Race 6 is a BM70 Handicap over 1000 metres for fillies and mares, my ride here is VAHVUUS who is trained by Jamie Edwards. This lightly raced five-year-old mare by Congrats has had 14 race starts for a record of two wins and four placings. I had my first ride on her at the start of this preparation when she resumed at this course and distance, finishing second to the promising Bless Her. Vahvuus has been racing consistently in her four runs this campaign without winning. She will start from a low barrier draw and carries the minimum weight of 56 kilos. She looks well placed to continue her consistent form and there is no doubt she will make her presence felt.

Race 7 is a BM78 Handicap over 1000 metres, my ride here is SAPPHIRE CROWN (NZ) who is trained by Colin Little. This promising four-year-old gelding by Hallowed Crown is lightly raced having had only four starts with a record of two wins and two placings. I’ve done a lot of work on him in training and jumpouts and had my first ride on him last start at this course and distance, finishing a narrow second on a track rated a soft 7. I’ve always felt that even though he is effective on soft ground that he is more confident in his action on a firmer surface. He goes up in grade today from last start and drops 2.5 kilos in weight. He is racing slightly out of his handicap based on his rating, but I see the benefit of running him again at the same course and distance as last start as he will be better for that experience as he struggled going down the hill and took some time to balance up in the straight before closing the race off nicely. If he runs up to his recent form he is the horse they all have to beat and I’m looking forward to riding him again.

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