‘Batman’ returns

Australia’s most exciting chaser Tornado Tears headlines Thursday night’s McKenna Memorial heats at Sandown Park.

The reigning RSN Sandown Cup winner returns to Victoria after a successful Queensland campaign that saw him win the group 1 Gold Cup and group 3 Super Stayers Invitational, smashing the Albion Park 710m track record in each final.

“I’m happy with him,” his trainer Robert Britton said.

“He struggled for a day or two after his last run which he usually does when he runs over the distance, but he’s come good pretty quickly. We’ve just got to hope he can get a clear run and I’m certain he will go well if he does.”

Tornado Tears, or ‘Batman’ as he’s known for his distinctive markings, will drop back to 595m for Thursday night’s group 2 heats, a distance at which he has proven equally adept. He is undefeated in three starts over the journey, including a stunning victory in 33.78 – the fourth fastest time ever recorded for the distance – in rain affected conditions in the recent group 3 Racecallers match race series. After essentially a week off following his sojourn north, Tornado Tears will enter Thursday’s heats fresh and ready to show his best over the middle distance.

“We gave him a fairly quiet week last week, and stepped up to his normal work this week. There’s no trials in between, he’ll go into the race fresh.

“I don’t mind box 4 or 5 on the bend starts to tell you the truth, if you come out well you get a reasonable straight run to the first turn. It’s all a matter of what happens in the run and he has drawn a very good field, but at the moment the way he’s going I’m confident that the with a clear run he’s the one to beat.”

Tornado Tears is one of four runners from the Britton kennel vying for a place in the $55,000 final on Thursday 12 July, including Tornado Tears’ litter mate Fernando Express who clocked an impressive 29.45 victory over 515m at Sandown Park on Sunday.

“It’s bit of a throw at the stumps, I didn’t know whether to have a go at this or go through the grade 5s. I figured he only gets one go at a race like this and the litter has shown when they step up in distance they go better. If it doesn’t work out we might head towards the Maturity.”

Britton’s other runners include Big Bang Tears (race 5, box 4) and Soda Flash (race 7, box 7).

The McKenna Memorial was first run in 1971 and is named after the club’s original secretary Victorian Hall of Fame inductee Jack McKenna, who played a key role in establishing racing at Sandown Park in 1956. Since changing to 595m in 2010, the race has been won by some of the sport’s most outstanding middle distance chasers including Flash Of Light, Irma Bale, Xylia Allen and Lady Toy. Five group 1 winners will greet the starter in the 2018 edition of the race, including Tornado Tears, Out Of Range, Hecton Bale, Elevated and Dyna Dean.

The first of 12 races on Thursday night will jump at 5.58pm. Click here for your free form guide


Paw note: Robert Britton’s other group 1 winning stayer Rippin’ Sam has also enjoyed some time off after twice being placed behind his littermate Tornado Tears in Queensland. He is back in work and will have a number of trials before resuming possibly in the listed Destini Fireball Stayers at The Meadows on 21 July


Tornado Tears stamps his class with an emphatic victory in the group 3 Racecallers match race


Mick Floyd
About Mick Floyd - Mick is the Racing and Media Manager at Sandown Park and has 15 years of experience in the sport. He has a finely tuned talent for finding three legs of a quaddie. You can follow his ramblings on Twitter - @mickfloyd
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