John Harms Sizes Up Sandown

The season has turned, with cricket and golf grabbing the limelight. Racing, of course, is the one constant. That forever-battle of trying to make a Saturday yours. And Sandown is as good a spot to do it as anywhere.

I used to love this meeting, probably because I was sometimes at the Dunkeld Cup, an exquisite afternoon at a beaut venue, especially when horses like Bomber Bill saluted back in Melbourne, watched on a sun-drenched screen near the bookies. I also loved the meeting because it was the last lager waltz for the desperately unlucky one (or three) you’d backed earlier in the carnival.

It’s been an unusual punting month for me. I seem to have done well in the feature races – which has made me slightly less of a mug publicly - but I can assure you I’ve managed to miss plenty in between.

So we need a winner – again.

I like that the Sandown Cup is 3200 metres. It will be a terrific spectacle, especially as the good ones storm home up the Sandown hill. I’m with Verdant.

You forget that some trainers would have made some of these Sandown races their targets. The mistake is to assume every horse was having its Grand Final at Flemington. For that reason I don’t mind Ulundi in the Eclipse, even though the form doesn’t read all that well. Pat Carey’s form does, and he places them very well.

There is a chance I will be de-frocked as a mug (even) for my next tip. I reckon Rawnaq can win the Zipping Classic, but before you giggle, I invite you to have a look at the Derby again. You can use whatever mathematical formula you like to consider weight and experience and the coarseness of tail-hair but that run was huge. Had he not been hampered (significantly) at the top of the straight he would have won with the sort of explosive finish that has us all talking. He was only noticed in the last 100 metres. He’s only had a handful of starts and he is against some tough old campaigners, but he’s worth a ticket, and I’ll certainly be watching the betting.

The Guineas is very tough. I’m going to nibble at another long-shot: Just Forget It. He was put away after two runs in Adelaide and resumed with a strong win in a good maiden up the bush. He was odds-on that day. So he has ability I’d conclude from that evidence, and they must have a good opinion of him. He might do something.

So to the last of the Spring. I tipped Cabernet a while back and she was scratched. I followed up and thought she had the choccies before Koonoomoo came from nowhere at Flemington. Cabernet’s in again. So she can close it out for me.

I hope your carnival was more lucrative than mine. But I have enjoyed the quality of the racing.

If you’re having a bet on the golf I’d back Ian Poulter. Whether he wins or not, one thing is for sure, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on.