Flemington horseman Saab Hasan is confident his stayer Shoreham can enjoy a form turnaround when backing up from a luckless Melbourne Cup campaign in Saturday’s Sandown Cup 2014.
The Reset five-year-old was nominated for a run in the world’s richest handicap but failed to make the capacity 24 horse Melbourne Cup field after a number of below par runs.
Most recently the gelding was seen crossing over seven lengths away seventh behind Signoff in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on his home track on Derby Day, which officially ruled out a shot at the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Hasan though believes the horse far more capable than his form on paper suggests and is eager to see that proven in the $150,000 Sandown Cup (3200m), held over the same distance as ‘The Race That Stops a Nation’, this weekend.
One of 19 nominations for the two mile showdown held on Zipping Classic Day at Sandown Racecourse, Shoreham hasn’t won a race since a black type at Flemington in September last year.
While it’s been a long time between drinks, he has been competitive in the meantime and luckless on a number of occasions.
He’s also got form over the 3200m, the genuine stayer having run fourth behind Unchain My Heart in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes over the distance in May this year.
Hasan is happy to give him another go over the two miles then, and is also happy to make excuses for the Lexus Stakes run where Shoreham was forced to work hard to get a front running position before tiering from the effort in the closing stages.
“The wind was very strong last Saturday, he had no hope from where he was which is disappointing but that’s racing,” Hasan told Racenet.
The trainer was also disappointed that jockey Jim Cassidy took the noted backmarker to the front in the stiff breeze in the November 1 run and was hoping for a better effort from replacement hoop Craig Williams this weekend.
“We’ll go to Sandown, Craig Williams on and I’m sure he can run a good race,” he said.
“I’m realistic about him, I’m not saying he’s a champion or anything silly like that but he’s a much better horse than his form shows.
“He has not had much luck this preparation but he has been in serious Group races and apart from last Saturday he has run well in all of them.”
Heading the Sandown Cup nominations and weights with 60kg meanwhile is the Robert Hickmott-trained 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon.
Green Moon is also nominated for the $350,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) however and is more likely to run in the mile and a half feature on the program.
Other dual Sandown Cup – Zipping Classic nominees include the fellow Hickmott-trained Sea Moon, Darren Weir’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up from last Saturday Prince Of Penzance and the Andrew Balding-trained UK raider Lord Van Percy.
Shoreham meanwhile also gets the chance to turn the tables on the Andrew Ramsden Stakes winner from earlier in the year with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained veteran Unchain My Heart nominated for Saturday.
The eight-year-old Al Maher mare has been outclassed of late however when second last (17th) behind Japan’s ill-fated Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and 16th behind runaway German winner Protecionist in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4.
Stay tuned for the official 2014 Sandown Cup field out on Wednesday.
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