2020 Australian Hurdle & Steeplechase Day Tips & Preview

There’s a quality eight-race card to dive into on Sunday as the annual Australian Hurdle and Steeplechase Day gets underway from Ladbrokes Park Lakeside at Sandown.

We’ve analysed each and every race and our best bets can be found below!

Race 1: Ladbrokes Back Yourself Hurdle (3400m), 12:05pm
No. 4 Flying Agent

Flying Agent has won over this trip in the past and strips fitter for his last start third at Warrnambool over the 3200m.

The seven-year-old by Raise the Flag got back early out of the gates and ran home strongly over the final furlong to finish just over a length behind the winner Riding High.

He should appreciate the extra distance here, while Lee Horner dropping a kilo is a plus.

Fellow New Zealander Diamond Star Halo comes out of the same race where she was narrowly beaten at the line.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained mare has placed in four of her five starts this campaign and will be right in the finish once again.

Race 2: Ladbrokes Australian Hurdle (3900m), 12:45pm
No. 3 Runaway

Runaway is on the short backup here after a luckless run last weekend at Flemington when 9 of 11 in the Listed Andrew Ramsden.

The five-year-old returned to the races in good order two starts back though where he was narrowly beaten on the line by Gobstopper.

We already know he performs well on short rest after winning at Pakenham seven days following a run in the Stawell Cup, so I like the setup here.

Speaking of Gobstopper, Daryl Horner jumping back on board is good news considering he rode the seven-year-old to a win four starts back at Warrnambool over the 3215m before finding the placings two starts later at Pakenham.

This looks a fun race between two rivals.

Race 3: Ladbrokes Australian Steeplechase (3900m), 1:25pm
No. 4 Lucques, No. 5 Zataglio EW

Lucques has raced well without winning during his current campaign and looks to be one of the main dangers in the third at Sandown on Sunday.

The eight-year-old by High Chaparral has finished no worse than fifth in his four starts to date and should appreciate the extra distance here after finishing strongly for second in his last run at Warrnambool over the 3450m.

Zataglio could also be worth a look in the minors with four wins over the 3800m to his name.

Whether this distance is a bit too far remains the query, but he’s worth forgiving on his latest run where he failed to finish after jockey Bill Gleeson came off early.

Race 4: Samson Handicap (1200m), 2:05pm
No Bet

Three of the eight confirmed runners are on debut here, while there isn’t a whole lot of exposed form to dive into regarding the favourites. This is a race I’m happy to steer clear of.

Race 5: Ladbrokes Same Race Multi (2100m), 2:40pm
No. 3 Declares War, No. 7 Clementina

Declares War has no excuses stepping down in grade after finishing towards the back of the field in the Listed Warrnambool Cup last time out.

The four-year-old has drawn perfectly in barrier 4 and gets the services of Craig Williams on board stepping back to the 2100m. He should also appreciate some of the sting out of the ground with rain forecast on Sunday.

It’s also extremely tough to fault the form of New Zealand galloper Clementina.

The Savabeel mare was a winner two starts back over the course and distance and ran on well for third over the 2350m at Warrnambool in her latest.

She’s got wet track form to suit, so I’ll be having a saver on her with Damien Oliver retaining the ride.

Race 6: Ladbrokes Switch Handicap (1300m), 3:15pm
No. 3 Zoushack

Zoushack looks well-placed to win second-up following a nice performance when resuming a fortnight ago over the 1200m at Ballarat for a place.

The Lindsay Park-trained three-year-old enjoyed a lovely run along the rails under Jamie Kah before being run down over the final 100m on the Heavy 8.

The pair map to get a similar run here from barrier 2 and if we get something in the Soft range, this should suit.

Race 7: Ladbrokes Cash In Handicap (1200m), 3:45pm
No. 10 Raktoff

Raktoff strips fitter for her last start third over the course and distance where she carried the light-weight of Mitchell Aitken in the saddle.

The four-year-old by Toorak Toff is a 4kg claimer here, but she looks the horse to beat for mine from the inside draw having her fourth run back from a spell.

The Richard Cully-trained mare beat home Group 1 Neds C F Orr Stakes winner Alabama Express at Mornington during the Spring and has just about everything lining up in her favour on Sunday.

Race 8: Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (1400m), 4:15pm
No. 14 Paperboy, No. 3 Elite Drake EW

Paperboy was a winner four starts back over the 1200m at Pakenham but has simply struggled for luck at the barriers ever since.

That being said, the four-year-old by Written Tycoon has still managed to find the placings in his last two starts and he looks more than capable of running a good race here with some wet track form to his name.

If you’re looking for one at longer odds, Elite Drake could run a cheeky race with three wins over the distance to his name.

He’s won before second-up and gets his chance from a nice barrier with apprentice Lewis German steering.