The nature of last Saturday’s meeting at Sandown in Melbourne was such that the program might not necessarily prove to be too good a guide to the upcoming feature race meetings to be staged at Caulfield and Moonee Valley, but possibly more so for Flemington’s stellar programs a little later in the spring. The vast, open spaces of last Saturday’s venue are much more akin to what gallopers will experience during Melbourne Cup week and patience could well prove to be a virtue in more than one of the following cases…
Elephant is making all the right noises, picture Racing Photos
ELEPHANT (NZ) (Won Group 3 Ladbrokes Sandown Stakes, 1500m) has gone from strength-to-strength since arriving in Melbourne for his spring campaign and has a better win with greater status in his grasp.
A slow maturing son of a tremendously under-rated stallion in the form of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, this 5-year-old boasts an awesome record of six wins from just seven starts, having only gone down by the barest possible margin in a very hot renewal of the Feehan Stakes when running second at his previous outing.
Elephant’s connections are now focusing on the Group 1 mile events in Melbourne over the coming weeks and rightly so. If the very progressive galloper doesn’t get the luck he’ll need to land a Toorak Handicap, the Kennedy Cantala on VRC Victoria Derby Day could present him with another live chance at Group 1 glory.
ZOUZARELLA (2nd Listed Jim Moloney Stakes, 1400m) looked more dour than she had at her previous two outings when failing to claim Queen of Dubai over the latter stages of Saturday’s 3-year-old fillies feature at Sandown.
A brilliant winner of both her first two outings around the sharp turning circuit of Moonee Valley, this Classic looking filly was fully expected to appreciate a step up in distance to 1400m as well as the open expanses of Sandown, but came up short in the final charge to the line.
Despite losing her unbeaten record, Zouzarella is not to be sacked as a potential Group 1 winner over the coming weeks. While she might have shown some vulnerability in terms of her The Thousand Guineas (1600m) claims, the daughter of Zoustar still appeals as a live Wakeful-VRC Oaks candidate and should appreciate Flemington more than any filly we have seen in her division so far this spring.
FLOATING ARTIST (GB) (Won The Big Screen Company Handicap, 1800m) completed a hat-trick of wins at Sandown on Saturday and is now ready to tackle a black-type feature over anything from 2000m to 2400m.
An imported son of the very strong staying influence Nathaniel, the 6-year-old ran right through the line in winning over the intermediate distance of 1800m and was far too strong for his opposition in what was admittedly little more than a solid handicap.
However, the manner in which Floating Artist won the contest could hardly have been more impressive and he looks the next overseas sourced galloper the training partnership of Ciaron Maher & David Eustace are likely to develop into a significant money-spinner for connections.
Floating Artist looks an exciting work in progress that could well make a substantial impact in much better company over the coming weeks.
BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER (2nd BECK Probuild Testa Rossa Stakes, 1300m) is one horse that performed with considerable merit at Sandown on Saturday that can be followed with some confidence at Caulfield in the coming weeks.
Surprisingly relegated to second thanks to a remarkable finishing effort by Challot in the Testa Rossa, Begood Toya Mother is a past winner of the Regal Roller (LR) over 1200m and Sir Rupert Clarke (G1) over 1400m at Caulfield. In other words, he's a proven performer at the circuit.
Though the 7-year-old has not saluted since landing his solitary Group 1 success back in September 2019, his close-up placing behind Challot was as good as he has run at any stage in the interim period and a repeat performance should see him back in the winning ranks before too much longer.
Away from Sandown, SEPTEMBER RUN (7th Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes, 1000m) didn’t do too much wrong in Friday night’s feature at Moonee Valley and was actually responsible for yet another highly creditable effort in top-class company.
Drawn 1 against some of the most rapid sprinters in training, the 4-year-old daughter of Exceed And Excel never really received an opportunity to get herself into the contest and pretty much lost any chance of winning when angled from firm-up against fence to the centre of the Moonee Valley track just before straightening for home.
This mare’s last two performances at The Valley have been very good — it’s just the 1000m distance of each that’s been against her.
Fans of September Run would be wise to stick with her for at least another couple of runs, either over slightly further at The Valley or at just about any trip down the straight course at Flemington.