After the scratching of Chinatown Lad due to an infection in his tail, kennel-mate Fallen Zorro will is TAB Sportsbet’s favourite for the $36,000 Group 2 Sir John Dillon Memorial (715m) at Sandown Park.
A winner of the Group 2 McKenna Memorial at Sandown Park earlier this year, Fallen Zorro has been placed in all seven of her Group final appearances, two of them at Group 1 level. Trainer Shane Whitney was happy with Fallen Zorro drawing box 3, but she is going to have to find the lead early to take out her second Group race title.
Fallen Zorro’s biggest dangers will come from the Robert Britton trained pair Gunnadoo Magic and Kulu Spirit. The veteran pair finished strongly to upstage Chinatown Lad and Fallen Zorro in last week’s heats and again look well placed to improve on their impressive records.
Some of the country’s best sprinters are engaged in the third Schweppes Melbourne Cup Prelude series.
In the first Prelude, Hybrid Theory returns to the scene of her Group 1 Laurels Classic success. Hybrid Theory is undefeated in her three Sandown Park starts and has drawn well in the stripe tonight. Gun Hand is a winner of over $50,000, is consistently fast beginner and has drawn well in box three. He comes into the race having won six of his past eight starts and should be well in the market tonight. Ashby Bale has been racing in good company, and despite having only won once in her past 13 starts, she does boast a solid record at the Lightwood Road venue.
The night’s second Prelude kicks off the quaddie and an outstanding field will meet the starter. The Paul Bartolo trained Sweet About Me was a brilliant all-the-way winner at The Meadows in 29.90 on Saturday in her first start after her unlucky second placing in the Group 2 South Australian Oaks. She boasts a PB of 29.59 at Sandown Park and will be hard to hold out if she can repeat that form. Pheonix Shiraz (29.77) and Blachura Bale (29.99) won impressively last Thursday night, while Cussler Bale and Bora Bale are also in good form.
Stoner Bale was very impressive when beaten a neck in last week’s $14,500 Bill Collins Memorial, and is likely to start a short favourite after drawing box 1 in race 6. Spader and Winoki may be the biggest dangers having been racing consistently in this class and aren’t badly boxed out wide. Sandy On Target has plenty of ability though is drawn badly in box 6, while Cool Flight is an exciting New South Wales sprinter having his first start in Victoria.
In the fourth and final Prelude, last start Bill Collins Memorial winner Violet Crumble will look to continue her good form after drawing box 2. Bo Frazier, Proven Alias and Mentera Bale are all strong finishers with good recent form, while Hurricane Sphinx has excellent early speed.