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Cranbourne-based trainer Allison Sheehan is hopeful her in-form mare Andrassy can handle the raise in grade when she steps up to stakes’ company for the first time at Sandown in the Summoned Stakes 2015 on Saturday.
The four-year-old daughter of Sharkbite has won four of her 11 career starts to date with winning form up to 1500m heading into her big test this weekend on Zipping Classic Day in the $150,000 Group 3 Summoned Stakes (1500m).
She faces a full field of 15 rivals at set weights plus penalties but is drawn well in gate eight with regular rider Matthew Allen continuing his association.
Andrassy earned her shot at the black-type title after posting back-to-back wins last month.
The first was at Cranbourne over 1400m carrying 58.5kg before she went to Moonee Valley on October 30 where she put one and a quarter lengths on her closest rival with a hefty 60.5kg on her back winning a fillies-and-mares’ Benchmark 70.
Saturday sees her drop back to a far more manageable 55kg, but Andrassy remains at the bottom end of the Summoned Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying a juicy $26 to make it three on the trot.
Leading Summoned Stakes betting this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival are Darren Weir’s last start Group 3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes winner from Melbourne Cup Day Scarlett Billows ($5.50) and the Chris Waller-trained third placegetter in the same lead-up Flemington feature She’s Clean ($7).
Sheehan though is hopeful her mare can give the better fancied hopefuls in the Summoned Stakes a run for their money at the big price shooting for an upset in the last on the Saturday race card at Sandown Hillside.
“She’s a really honest, tough horse that seems to race well wherever she lands,” she told Racing Victoria.
“We’ve gone through the grades, got her rating up and picked up some prizemoney, and she’s just been going so well that we figured it was about time we stepped her up and see how she goes.
“She’s pulled up super from her last start and Matthew Allen knows her really well, so we were glad we were able to give him the ride.”
Well aware of the top grade of mares in the Summoned Stakes field this season, Sheehan still believes there couldn’t be a better time to test Andrassy at this level.
“It’s a decent, full-field of acceptances but she’s a mare we’ll eventually breed from and it was the right time to try and get some black-type form with her,” she said.
“Her recent form does give us some confidence going in. There’s some Group performers in there coming out of big races recently, but it was about time we gave her a shot against this sort of company while she’s full of confidence.”
A good run by Andrassy on the weekend would cap off a nice season for Sheehan who has around four to six horses in work, and who has had enjoyed six wins and three seconds this campaign with her best runners.
“I had a quiet year last year after I retired a few older horses,” she said.
“So it’s been great to start the season off so well, I couldn’t have asked for more from them both (Andrassy and stablemate Minute By Minute who have won five of those six victories).”
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