The return of glamour sisters Betty’s Angel and Miss Mini Mouse will be the focus of very strong card at Sandown Park tonight, featuring the second Schweppes Melbourne Cup Prelude series.
After 10 months in retirement, Miss Mini Mouse begins her campaign for an unprecedented third Schweppes Melbourne Cup final in race 4.
Drawn in box 7, Miss Mini Mouse has showed good early speed in her trials to date, but will have her work cut out for her in her quest to lead, and will probably have to lead to win.
Group 1 Silver Chief winner Regal Thyme has stepped up to middle-distance racing in recent times, but returned to sprinting with an impressive last-start win at the Meadows in BON 29.92. Victory Time is unbeaten at Sandown Park and may represent good value from box 8.
Schweppes Melbourne Cup Prelude 6 kicks off the quaddie.
Gable Express has returned to for of late and from box 1 is a good chance to lead all the way.
Lynlea’s King has drawn ideally in box 8 and has an impressive Sandown Park record. Special Sign is a winner of five of her eight races and reached the Group 1 Laurels final at Sandown Park at just her fourth start, has good early speed, and should be in it for a long way from box 6.
The Navy Week Trophy (Grade 5 final) is an open race, with all runners given some chance.
The hard-railing Amity Bale may prove hard to catch if she can hold the rails through the first turn from box 1. Uncrushable boasts four wins from seven starts at the Lightwood Road Circuit, while fastest heat winner Stoner Bale will need some luck from box 5.
Most of the attention in Schweppes Melbourne Cup Prelude 7 will focus on Darren McDonald’s exciting youngster Cold Cold Change and multiple Group race finalist Bounding Billy.
Cold Cold Change has won seven of his 10 career starts as he has progressed through the grades, and showed his exceptional speed with a BON 29.79 win at The Meadows on Saturday. He won his only Sandown Park start from this box (box 7).
Bounding Billy has drawn the awkward box 5, but does boast six wins and six placing from 18 Sandown Park starts and is capable of a fast start.
Three-time Group 1 winner Betty’s Angel returns to the scene of her memorable 2006 campaign in which she completed the Group 1 Sapphire Crown-Schweppes Melbourne Cup double in Schweppes Melbourne Cup Prelude 8. She will need some luck from box 5 but if anywhere near her best will be right in this.
Her biggest challenge may come from track specialist Finlandia. A six-time winner at Sandown Park, Finlandia has been racing in good form of late, including a five-length win in open class last start. The under-rated Let it Snow has good early pace and is capable of leading from box 1.
The winner of each Prelude automatically qualifies for the heats of the $250,000 Group 1 Schweppes Melbourne Cup.
The first race tonight will be run at 7.08pm with the first leg of the quaddie to be run at 8.28pm.