Melbourne Cup winner Ando’s Mac returns to Sandown Park for the first time since his memorable Melbourne Cup win, but history says he has his work cut out for him to make it three Sandown Park wins in a row.
1. It’s Mac time
Ando’s Mac (race 8) returns to Sandown Park for the first time since his epic Melbourne Cup victory last November. Amazingly, since 2000 just one Melbourne Cup winner has won at his next start at the track. That greyhound was Lord Ducal, which won a FFA on Sandown Cup night in 2010 in his first race start in 6 months. Of the 16 Melbourne Cup winners since 2000, six never returned to Sandown Park including two (Hallucinate and Surgeon) that retired after winning the Cup. Ando’s Mac is just the third Melbourne Cup winner in that time to return to contest a FFA, the rest returned for a group race heat or final.
2. Zoom Zoom Zinzan
Zinzan Brooke (race 6) makes his first start at Sandown Park tonight on the back of four consecutive best of night wins. The former Queenslander boasts an impressive record of 20 wins from 27 starts, with 13 of those wins (and 8 of his last 9) in the best time of the day.
3. No pressure
Connections would be hoping that Verne Allen (race 1) can show even a fraction of his parent’s ability. By the Australia’s highest ever prize money winner Fernando Bale and out of the fifth highest earning female Irma Bale, Verne Allen’s folks combined for 10 group 1 wins and almost $1.9m in prize money
4. Just your regulation FFA…
Speaking of big prize money, the runners in tonight’s FFA (race 8) have combined for over $1.3m in prize money, with Ando’s Mac, Black Mumbo, Bewildering and Shima Song all having tasted success at group level. Certainly makes tonight’s $6260 first prize seem like pocket change!
5. The new time standard
In 15 meetings since the introduction of the hoop arm, Bewildering has set the time standard with his 29.119 recorded in the Bill Collins Speed Star. In fact, he also has the second fastest time of 29.184. Black Mumbo is the second fastest greyhound with a time of 29.251, recorded when running second in the same series.
Around the Australa
Fanta Bale will start the (very) short favourite in tonight’s group 1 Gold Cup at Albion Park (free form guide here). A win would be her fifth at group 1 level and take her prize money to $797,490 and into fourth position all-time. She meets fellow RSN Sandown Cup finalists Dundee Calypso and Teddy Monelli, as well as local champion Cyndie’s Magic. They’re a parochial lot up north, check out this great video on Cyndie’s Magic.
The good thing: Zinzan Brooke (race 6 number 7)
Each way all day: Beanbag (race 11 number 2)
You can also follow the action from on course on Snapchat (username: Sandowndogs)