Group 2 Laurels Classic final – heat tips and betting preview

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FANTA Bale and Striker Light are the equal favourites to capture Thursday night’s Group 2 Laurels Classic (515m) at Sandown Park.

Trained by Rob Britton, Fanta Bale is the proven class runner of the field, having won the Group 1 Hume Cup at The Meadows in October. The daughter of David Bale and American bitch Ucme Typhoon has drawn box three in the decider and comes into the final following a luckless second in her heat behind Up Hill Jill.

Meanwhile, Striker Light comes into the decider after two faultless qualifying wins, running 29.37 and 29.53 respectively. In both performances the Brett Bravo-trained bitch broke the 5.00 second split to the first mark, with a repeat of those box manners sure to see her lead in Thursday’s final.

If she can find the front, Striker Light may prove hard to reel in, with the daughter of Kc and All sure to be getting stronger over the testing 500.

Fearless Swan is given a leading chance to topple the top two in the market, with Crownbet installing her on the second line of betting at $4. The 25.5-kilogram pocket rocket has won four of her past five starts, including her heat and semi-final of the Classic. While she is drawn awkwardly in box six, she should get a nice run into the race on the outside of Striker Light and can make an impact at the finish.

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Up Hill Jill has drawn the coveted rails alley which should give her every chance to feature. The black bitch showed great early toe in her 29.53 heat win and a repeat should see her up near the front in the early stages.

There is a huge jump out in prices to the remainder of the field, headed by Isla’s Style at $21. While she only went 29.85 in her semi-final, the daughter of Fear Zafonic and Terrific Style is trained by Jason Thompson who is one of the best conditioners in the country. She has won well from outside draws in the past, but generally lacks early speed so will need some luck to cross over in the early stages.

The $50,000 Group 2 Laurels Classic is race six at Sandown Park this Thursday and will jump at 8:52pm.

Group 2 Laurels Classic – runner statistics and best odds

Box One – Up Hill Jill
Black Bitch – 29.3kg – February 2015
Premier Fantasy x Where’s Demonica
Prize money: $31,915
Trainer: David Geall
Career: 13: 6-5-0
Box: 1: 0-0-0
T/D: 5: 1-3-0
T/D best: 29.53
Career highlights: WON Sandown Park 29.53. Shepparton 25.23, Warragul 25.89, Geelong 25.89

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $6.50 with Crownbet

Box Two – Fair Of Face
Black Bitch – 29.7kg – January 2015
Barcia Bale x Catch Up Sunday
Prize money: $15,670
Trainer: Peter Craig
Career: 10: 5-2-1
Box: 2: 2-0-0
T/D: 2: 1-1-0
T/D best: 29.78
Career highlights: WON Sandown Park 29.78, Sale 24.92, Horsham 23.61

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $31 with Sportsbet

Box Three – Fanta Bale
Black Bitch – 28.6kg – August 2014
David Bale x Ucme Typhoon
Prize money: $157,190
Trainer: Rob Birtton
Career: 22: 16-2-1
Box: 4: 3-0-1
T/D: 8: 6-2-0
T/D best: 29.36
Career highlights: WON 2016 Group 1 Hume Cup, Sandown Park 29.36, FINALIST 2016 Group 3 SA Oaks

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $2.90 with Sportsbet

Box Four – Leave Me Out
Brindle Bitch – 29.6kg – October 2014
Nolen x Unforgotten
Prize money: $7,975
Trainer: Donald Jarvis
Career: 13: 4-2-4
Box: 2: 0-0-1
T/D: 3: 0-1-1
T/D best: NBT
Career highlights: WON Healesville 19.49

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $51 with William Hill

Box Five – Striker Light
Black Bitch – 28.9kg – March 2015
Kc And All x Pretty Fancy
Prize money: $16,535
Trainer: Brett Bravo
Career: 6: 5-1-0
Box: 0: 0-0-0
T/D: 2: 2-0-0
T/D best: 29.37
Career highlights: WON Sandown Park 29.37, Warrnambool 25.20, Ballarat 25.23

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $2.90 with William Hill

Box Six – Fearless Swan
Black Bitch – 25.7kg – November 2014
Collision x Audacious Elle
Prize money: $22,750
Trainer: Donald Hay
Career: 13: 9-0-1
Box: 0: 0-0-0
T/D: 5: 3-0-1
T/D best: 29.39
Career highlights: WON Sandown Park 29.39, Sale 25.05, Traralgon 30.54

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $4 with Crownbet

Box Seven – Isla’s Style
Black Bitch – 27.6kg – August 2014
Fear Zafonic x Terrific Style
Prize money: $24,941
Trainer: Jason Thompson
Career: 22: 6-3-3
Box: 3: 2-0-1
T/D: 2: 1-0-0
T/D best: 29.85
Career highlights: WON Ipswich 30.48, Albion Park 29.96

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $21 with Sportsbet

Box Eight – Poppy Pete
Black Bitch – 26.1kg – July 2014
Bekim Bale x Beau One
Prize money: $10,955
Trainer: Melinda Tharle
Career: 26: 5-5-4
Box: 0: 0-1-0
T/D: 2: 0-1-0
T/D best: NBT
Career highlights: WON Geelong 25.99, Launceston 29.97

Odds to win the Laurels Classic: $51 with Crownbet

Tips: 5 – 3 – 6 – 1