Paul Bartolo looks set for his second Group 1 Solo Sapphire Crown success in three years with rising star Sweet About Me looking hard to beat in Australia’s richest race for bitches.
After tasting success in 2006 with three-time Group 1 winner Betty’s Angel, Bartolo’s newest kennel star Sweet About Me has missed a place just once in her 13 career starts, boasts four wins and a third at Sandown Park with a personal best of 29.59. She overcame box 7 in her hear, clearing the field to find the rails and lead all the way in 29.88. She has drawn much better in box 3 tonight and looks excellent value on the fixed odds markets.
Her biggest threat is likely to come for multiple track record holder Queen Lauryn. Trained by Tony Brett, ‘The Queen’ was the fastest heat winner in 29.78, enjoying a dream run through the first turn and powering to an impressive victory. Queen Lauryn has had her issues in the past and there is a lot of early pace in this final, however if she gets any early luck she is sure to figure in the finish.
Hot Puzzle was also impressive in her heat and has again drawn well in the final. Hot Puzzle made the final if the Group 1 Laurels in June, and has since been kept mainly to Gippsland tracks and amassed an impressive 23 wins from her 38 career starts. She is a reliable fast breaker, running the fastest first split in last week’s heats, and if she can repeat that performance she will again be hard to run down.
Recent Bill Collins Memorial winner Violet Crumble has been racing in good form and has drawn the red box for tonight’s final. She can be hit-and-miss at boxrise, but if she begins tonight she can lead and prove hard to run down.
Jason Thompson’s memorable spring continues with Proven Polly starting from box 5. The winner of the Topgun, Vic Peters Memorial and Shepparton Cup in the past two weeks, Thompson will be out to win his first Sapphire Crown tonight.
Proven Polly was impressive when leading all the way to win in 29.88 in her heat – the same time as Sweet About Me – however her chances took a hit after drawing the yellow box for the final.
Finlandia will have a second assault on the Sapphire Crown, having run 7th in 2007. She has again drawn box 6, and although she is still capable of running time, she has little early pace and will need a clear run in order to have the last go at them in the run to the line.
Amelia Bale and Uno Kissy were both game in their respective heats, but meet a steep rise in class here and are a place chance at best.
Group 1 Solo Sapphire Crown is ladies night at Sandown Park, and Sandown is offering free entry to all ladies. In addition, the first 250 ladies through the gate will receive a free showbag.
Gates open at 6pm with the first race at 7.09pm. The $72,500 final will be run at 9.40pm.