The Sandown Cup is effectively a Melbourne Cup for the B-Graders run at Sandown this Saturday afternoon.
Like its big brother it’s a 3200m contest but far from the Group 1 $6 million in prize money, it’s a far more modest $125,000.
Still though it fills a vital gap for staying horses that aren’t up to the level of the Melbourne Cup but are still looking for this kind of distance.
In 2011 the race takes on even more significance due to the ongoing debate about whether or not there are enough races of this nature and indeed whether or not there’s enough to demand to facilitate what we already have.
Organisers then would be very pleased with the 15 nominations they’ve taken for the Sandown Cup, three more than the capacity of 12.
Just one Melbourne Cup horse will back up for the race this year, English import Saptapadi which finished well down the track on the first Tuesday in November.
He’s the 60kg top weight for the race with a big gap down to the next level.
The big hope is probably Norsqui, he won the Lavazza Long Black on Melbourne Cup over a trek of 2800m.
On that form he has to be a huge chance in this race, however the third place getter can’t be ruled out.
Olympic Win was caught three wide without cover the entire trip in that race, making the turn wide after pushing forward facing the breeze.
He was entitled to pack it in up the long Flemington straight but to his credit he battle on to hold third in a great performance.
Robert Smerdon is his trainer and he’s agrees the horse is a chance of turning around the 4.5 length margin.
“He is going well and is ready for this 3200m after his run behind Norsqui over 2800m,” Smerdon said.
“Norsqui beat him fair and square the other day but he is in form and will be right in this,” he said.
He hasn’t won a race since February when he got up at Bendigo over 2200m but he has been very consistent.
Prior to the Lavazza Long Black he was fifth in the Bendigo Cup and third over 2025m at Cranbourne.