New Zealand raider Marky Mark will be out to make a good first impression down under when he makes his Australian race debut in Melbourne’s 2015 Sandown Guineas for Pukekohe trainer Moira Murdoch this weekend.
One of the features of Zipping Classic Day at Sandown Hillside on Saturday, the $250,000 Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) features 15 three-year-olds running over the mile.
Drawn a treat in barrier two with Michael Walker booked for the ride is Murdoch’s progressive Makfi gelding Marky Mark who has won three of his six starts back home in New Zealand.
He is an elite level winner with success in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in late March, but was unplaced in his two latest runs heading into his trip to Victoria.
Gearing up for the Sandown Guineas, where he will step out over further than 1400m for the first time, Marky Mark trialled at Cranbourne over 1190m finishing sixth behind subsequent Myer Classic winning mare Politeness.
Marky Mark might have no experience in Australia, but Murdoch is no stranger to success here having prepared Solvit to victory in the 1994 Cox Plate.
In a relatively open early Sandown Guineas betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au a host of the runners are under $10 for the win with markets led by Tony McEvoy’s black-type winning filly on Melbourne Cup Day Don’t Doubt Mamma ($4.20).
Marky Mark meanwhile can be found at the opposite end of the Sandown Guineas odds as a $21 outsider, a price Murdoch hopes he can run better than.
Other notable Sandown Guineas fancies this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival include the Darren Weir-trained Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) winning Flying Spur colt Mahuta after his fourth win on the trot and Kiwi expat He’s Our Rokkii for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig who ran fourth in the Carbine Club Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington.
Roc De Cambes gelding He’s Our Rokkii also has form around Marky Mark back in NZ running one and a quarter lengths away fourth in the Sires’ Produce at Awapuni during the autumn.
A third New Zealand raider in Saturday’s Sandown Guineas field is Per Incanto colt Dal Cielo for Caulfield Cup and Emirates Stakes winning trainer this season Murray Baker.
He beat home Marky Mark by over two lengths when the duo clashed in the Group 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie back in early March running first and fourth respectively.
Originally Murdoch had the Carbine Club Stakes on October 31 earmarked as the first-up assignment for her visiting youngster, however troubles travelling across the Tasman forced her to go for the Guineas as a Plan B.
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