Sandown throws up a tricky card this year. As always there is plenty of Flemington form to the fore but most races throw up their traps and tricks with half of the early market favourites coming off a zero last time out.
One early favourite that takes the more traditional route of coming off a peak rating and competitive run at Flemington is Xilong and she looks a good candidate for our bet of the day on the back of that.
After beating the handy Lil Kontra she thrashed Cup Day winner Garner and she backed it up on Cup Day herself, running third in a race that rated really well for the class.
There were five within a length at the finish but four of those five were last start winners and the other, Betcha Flying, came off the same formline as the winner and had posted a couple of strong ratings on the way in - there's a bit to like.
There doesn't look to be the same depth around on Saturday and Xilong should have no trouble rolling into a prominent position. Throw in the bonus of having had a run at 1400m now and she makes plenty of appeal.
For an each-way play we head to the feature, the Zipping Classic, which has a bit of a history of repeat performers. Zipping himself won the race four times and The Taj Mahal won it two years running, last year knocking off Dal Harraild who we think can give it a big shake again 12 months on.
Like many at this meeting, Dal Harraild comes off posting a zero, but his Geelong run came with excuses, working wide in a strong race, and he had been building okay prior to that. He can get on speed and into his rhythm here and a return to his best would be competitive with where most of these are at lately. $10.00 seems a good each way gamble in a patchy sort of race.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 3 #2 Xilong @ $3.00
Each Way Play: Race 8 #6 Dal Harraild @ $10.00