The Kevin Heffernan Stakes (Race 8) over 1300m has attracted a capable field with Stradbroke winner Under the Louvre atop the betting at the time of writing.
With Robert Smerdon electing to bypass the straight six races at Flemington over the carnival given his charge’s preference for going around a bend, Under the Louvre has had a three week break since running in the Manikato, where he was far from disgraced in finishing fifth, less than two lengths off the winner Rebel Dane.
While the extra 100m and bigger track should suit he certainly hasn’t been the most reliable of favourites throughout his racing career and despite plenty of confidence emanating from the camp, we’ll be looking to take him on here.
Experienced sprinter Lucky Hussler should also appreciate the drop in class having raced at Group 1 level in both the Moir and Manikato at his only two runs to date this preparation.
He’s another horse that should benefit from the more expansive environment at Sandown and under WFA conditions looks pretty well placed, particularly when you consider that he managed to score third-up in the Toorak Handicap last spring.
Our traders were also interested in the performance of the in-form Illustrious Lad, who won going away from them in the Linlithgow Stakes but will have to contend with an awkward gate here having drawn the outside.
With connections eyeing off a tilt at the Goodwood next winter, he had been expected to go for a spell after that result but trainer Peter Gelagotis has accepted for this event and there has been plenty of early money to suggest he can go on with it.
Of the others, Faatinah is consistent and has drawn to race right on the pace so expect him to be in it for a long way.
Famous Seamus returned to winning ways at provincial level out at Hawkesbury but appears challenged as he looks to repeat his win in this event a year ago.
While the only mare in the event, Super Cash, was competitive behind Sheidel when caught on the slower part of the track last start and has also been specked at each-way odds since our book opened on Wednesday afternoon.