Today I’m riding at Sandown. The rail is in the true position on the Lakeside circuit and the track is rated in the soft range. Today is a mixed day of flat and jumps racing with the feature on the card being the Grand National Hurdle.
Race 2 is the BM64 Ladbrokes Same Race Multi Handicap over 1200 metres for three-year-olds. My ride here is BARB RAIDER who is trained by Jerome Hunter and raced by Graebar Park. This filly by Rebel Raider is having her first start as a maiden in BM64 grade today. I have seen a replay of her official trial back in April where she closed off really well from back in the field. She has had two jumpouts at Mornington in preparation for this race and looked really strong to the line in her most recent effort. She is taking on horses with more experience than her but if she runs up to her jumpouts and handles her first day at the races, I expect she can be finishing off strongly and make her presence felt.
Race 3 is the Class 1 Ladbrokes Easy Form Handicap over 1200 metres. My ride here is ORPHAN’S TRUST who is trained by Jerome Hunter. This four-year-old mare by Trust in a Gust is also raced by Graebar Park. She’s had three starts and made a winning debut on her home track at Mornington over 1200 metres in January. She then stepped up to 1400 metres at her next start where she faded late to finish fourth after starting from a wide barrier draw. At her next start she was tested at Group 3 fillies level at Moonee Valley where she had the blinkers added to her head gear for the first time and after starting from a wide barrier she finished last. She then had a break from training and returns to the races today. She’s had two jumpouts in preparation for her return as a four-year-old. She will start from a middle barrier draw in a race where there looks to be a good amount of speed on paper, so it will be interesting to see what my instructions are pre-race. If she runs up to her impressive debut performance and handles the rain affected track she can be competitive in this.
Race 7 is the BM64 Ladbrokes Bet Ticker Handicap over 1600 metres. My ride here is MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ) who is trained by Ben & JD Hayes. This four-year-old gelding by Bullbars is lightly raced having had three starts for a record of one win and a second placing. I rode him last start at Geelong where he sat outside the leader over 1400 metres in maiden grade and was dominant in his effort to win by five lengths on soft ground. I felt he would improve again with that run under his belt and he gave me the feel of a horse that will progress to a good level. He comes into this with confidence from his last start win and this race looks like it should work out well for him and he is the horse they all have to beat.