Runners to watch: Sandown, December 30th

Luke Krahe race reviews, notes and blackbookers from Saturday's Melbourne metro meeting at Sandown.

Blackbookers: TEMPLAR – Race 1. Finished off the race nicely on debut after being held-up and will be looking for further.

Race 1: Ladbrokes Plate 1000m.

GRACEFUL STORM (1st) won on debut and there was money around for the Hinchinbrook filly having her second start. She jumped awkwardly and was back in the field before looming at the top of the straight and really those that finished behind her appeared to have every chance.

Notes: FAKE (unplaced) looked uncomfortable racing on the inside of horses and never really wound up. He can be forgiven for that run but still has to prove himself. Probably the run of the race was the Michelle Payne trained/ridden TEMPLAR (3rd). After being held-up most of the first half of the straight, he finally got a split in the last furlong and really ran through the line hard. Very encouraging debut by a Melbourne Cup winning sire in Fiorente, he will no doubt get further.

Race 2: Ladbrokes Multimaker Handicap 1800m.

Notes: The back markers were not able to get into it here with the leaders setting a slowish speed up front before accelerating early in the straight. MUTARAKEM’s (1st) jockey Damian Oliver confirmed this saying post-race how he had plenty up his sleeve and that showed after he looked threatened before coming away again late. SAVVY BELLE (2nd) ran a nice race at odds, got into at the right time approaching the straight and stuck on well. Favourite RED CHOUX’S (3rd) ran on well from last, an interesting tactical ride where the kid elected to snag it early. He was widest into the straight and although it took him a while to wind-up, he was making good ground the last 100m. Stick with him. DOMESTICATED (unplaced) came wide but was disappointing.

Race 3: Ladbrokes Money Winery Handicap BM84 Fillies and Mares 1400m.

Notes: LIFE ON THE WIRE (1st) was brilliant again winning here after winning sitting outside the leader, showing that she is the real deal when up against her own sex. The map was what most expected with MOONLOVER (2nd) leading and the impressive winner forced to sit parked. The leader got away early in the straight after railing hard and led by 2 lengths at the furlong pole, but you could just tell the Tasmanian was in for the fight. She started to edge closer and was clearly doing best on the line and these two gave nothing else a chance. Nothing with any excuses back in the field, barring the fact the tempo was only moderate early and the tow fancies were those setting the tempo!

Race 4: Ladbrokes Cash In Handicap 3yo Fillies 1300m.

Notes: LIGHT ROMANCE (1st) is only lightly raced and hasn’t missed a place in her 4-start career. She was beautifully ridden here with the cold sit on favourite TWITCHY FRANK (2nd), eased to the middle of the track and although it took a while for her to get there, she was clearly doing best on the line. The second horse was well ridden and had every chance, was nabbed late but definitely no excuses. MAWZOONA (3rd) may have been on the wrong part of the track after making ground early in the straight along the inside when the first two came wide. She just seemed to die on her run late, not sure if it was a case of not seeing out the trip or the track, I’d say the former.

Race 5: Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap BM70 1000m.

Notes: I thin the story of this race is 8 horses finishing within 2 lengths of the winner, suggesting it may not be the best race to follow as a form reference going forward. In saying that EL SICARIO (1st) did have to do it the tradies way sitting outside the leader, he found plenty in the straight and although tiring late he was never really in danger. SOVEREIGN DUKE (2nd) was wide throughout, also took a while to balance up but ran on well late. Not far off another win. KAKANUI (unplaced) and ARTIE FRED (unplaced) both were doing their best work out wide from well back late, whilst CASQUE (unplaced) had little room late in the straight when running on closer to the rail.

Race 6: Ladbrokes Info Hub Hcp 1400m.

OZI CHOICE (1st) was backed as if there was no settling and I’m tipping a few of the satchel swingers were feeling it after the Denman gelding made it a one act affair after getting an easy lead soon after they jumped. He copped no pressure, booted 4 lengths clear at the top of the straight and it was a no contest from that point to the post.

Notes: What to say about those that finished behind him? Not much. BURNING FRONT (unplaced) had every chance after tracking the winner and stablemate and won’t be tipped again. LITE’N IN MY VEINS (2nd) made good ground late to get into second but never looked a winning chance.

Race 7: Ladbrokes Up For The Challenge Hcp BM78 1600m.

Loved the ride on ORIENT LINE (1st), after sitting three-wide no cover down the back on the speed, when he approached the turn he put the foot down and took the front. Seeing out the trip was going to be the problem after doing a little work but he was actually doing as good as any on the line.

Notes: LAMBORGHINI (2nd) was well back to the turn, got to the middle of the track as did the whole field at this stage of the day and really ran on hard the last furlong. GUIZOT (3rd) was there to pounce back on the inside of the winner, every chance. WHAT A SHOCK (unplaced) was awkwardly away, ran up behind them in the straight and I looked a forgive run.

Race 8: Ladbrokes Odds Boost Exotics Handicap BM70 Fillies and Mares 1000m.

Notes: The big field charged into the turn over the short course, the winner DECONI (1st) was well back into the straight almost last, charged along the inside and got up in the last stride. PETITE’S REWARD (2nd) had a good run in behind the leaders into the straight before hitting a gap and the front at the 150m mark. FOR A SONG (3rd) was brave in defeat after being the lamplighter, a line of them behind the placegetters shows that it may not be the best form reference. That can often be the way with these fillies and mares races, a different winner each week!

Race 9: Ladbrokes Handicap BM70 1400m.

Notes: CHIPPENHAM (2) went down narrowly and those that backed it can feel a tad unlucky. He was held-up badly in the first half of the straight, squeezed through a gap at the 250m mark and really charged through the line, just not getting the bob in. SIMPLY SPLASHING (1st) was ridden well saving ground on the turn, got underneath them to lead before getting to the fast lane. The jock timed it brilliantly to kick away before narrowly hanging on when fading late. BON ROCKET (unplaced) was unlucky, never really got a crack at them until the bird had flown, was good over the last 100.