Spring Cup Action Not Over – 2011 Sandown Cup Nominations

While the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups have been run and won for another year, this Saturday a lesser-known but still important spring cup showdown will run at Betfair Park Sandown Hillside with the Sandown Cup 2011.

Norsqui

Melbourne Cup Day winner Norsqui is one of the early favourites for the 2011 Sandown Cup on Saturday

There were 15 stayers nominated for the $125,000 Sandown Cup this year, the feature one of the few remaining races still run over the traditional cup distance of 3200 metres.

Heading the list of 2011 Sandown Cup entries is Brian Ellison’s European visitor Saptapadi who has also been allocated the hefty 60kg topweight.

Indian Ridge gelding Saptapadi has been disappointing in their three runs down under this season, the galloper last seen finishing 16th to Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup.

Saptapadi is also nominated for one of the two highlight races of the weekend, the $350,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) where they would be better weighted under the standard weight-for-age conditions but where they would face a higher caliber of competition including former Melbourne Cup winner Americain.

Other notable gallopers nominated for the Sandown Cup 2011 include Walter McShane’s Melbourne Cup Day winner Norsqui and the Robert Smerdon-trained Olympic Win who ran a credible fifth in the Bendigo Cup before their last-start third to Norsqui in The Lavazza Long Black (2800m).

Smerdon, who celebrated his seventh Group 1 training triumph with Mosheen in the Crown Oaks this spring, is confident that stepping up to the two-miles on Saturday will be the key to Montjeu six-year-old Olympic Win’s success.

The Sandown Cup will be the gelding’s second start at the distance with Olympic Win having run a close fourth to Muir in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) back in March.

“He is going well and is ready for this after the 3200 metres after his run behind Norsqui over 2800 metres,” Smerdon said.

“Norsqui beat him fair and square the other day but he is in form and will be right in this.”

Meanwhile Flemington-based trainer David Hayes will seek the Sandown Cup win this year with his Galileo six-year-old Reprisal.

Reprisal was last seen finishing 10 lengths away sixth to Melbourne Cup starter Niwot in the Group 3 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on October 29 and the drop back in class for the Sandown Cup will suit.

“It is his first try at the distance but his lead-up form has been very good for a race like this,” Hayes said.

“He was very progressive in the Lexus and it looked like he was looking for two miles as well.

“This campaign we were hoping he would go through his classes thinking one of these late spring staying races would be good for him and on Saturday it (the Sandown Cup) looks winnable.”

The 2011 Sandown Cup final field and barriers are due for release on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.

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2011 Sandown Cup Nominations

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 SAPTAPADI (IRE) Brian Ellison 1 60kg 101
2 NORSQUI Walter McShane 3 55.5kg 87
3 OLYMPIC WIN (NZ) Robert Smerdon 4 55.5kg 87
4 MONTAHLIA (NZ) Michael Kent 2 54.5kg 89
5 LOPOV (NZ) Danny O’Brien 5 53.5kg 82
6 REPRISAL David Hayes 6 53.5kg 82
7 AFFINIS Terry Carson 11 53kg 67
8 CAPRIEV Martin Stein 14 53kg 60
9 CRAFTY CRUISER Bryce Stanaway 8 53kg 72
10 DAME CLAIRE (NZ) Pat Carey 12 53kg 65
11 DEBECCA Stephen Hutchinson 10 53kg 68
12 DELL Tony Dynon 13 53kg 62
13 JUMPIN JACK CASH Patrick Payne 9 53kg 72
14 MORNING RAID (NZ) Robbie Laing 15 53kg 55
15 OUR SERENA Pat Carey 7 53kg 78