Exceptionally ready to zip in classic
Consistent mare Exceptionally will be looking to spoil the party for connections of evergreen galloper Zipping who is on track for a fourth win in the Group Two Sandown Classic.
Zipping’s owner Lloyd Williams will decide after trackwork on Tuesday whether the nine-year-old lines up in the 2400 metre race again on Saturday but co-trainers Terry and Karina O’Sullivan are happy for Exceptionally to take him on.
The O’Sullivans also nominated Exceptionally for Saturday’s $125,000 Sandown Cup (3200m) but believe they are a chance in the much richer $350,000 Classic.
“It is worth a lot more money and if we have a bit of luck she is going to be very competitive in it,” Terry O’Sullivan said.
“It would be fantastic to win a race like that.”
A luckless mare this campaign, Exceptionally has an impressive form line although it wasn’t enough to get her a start in the Melbourne Cup.
She was second to Caulfield Cup runner-up Harris Tweed in the Listed Bart Cummings (2500m) and third to Melbourne Cup winner Americain and Moudre in the Group Three Geelong Cup (2406m)
O’Sullivan said the four-year-old had recovered well from Saturday’s 2-1/4 length sixth to Moudre after being ridden against her normal racing pattern in the Group Three Queen’s Cup (2600m).
“She ran great on Saturday when we chanced the arm going forward from the outside gate,” O’Sullivan said.
“We were hoping she would get in from that barrier but it didn’t work.
“It is not her racing style but I thought she fought hard, she was brave, and still didn’t get beaten far.”
O’Sullivan said that with luck Exceptionally may have won either or both the Bart Cummings and the Geelong Cup.
“No doubt if she comes to the outside in the Bart Cummings she wins while she was held up around the home turn in the Geelong Cup,” O’Sullivan said.
Zipping is in career-best form and at his past three starts has won the Group One Turnbull Stakes, finished second to So You Think in the Cox Plate and run fourth in the Melbourne Cup.
Despite his presence, 14 other horses were nominated for the Sandown Classic including Manighar, who was fifth in the Caulfield Cup and seventh in the Melbourne Cup.
Capecover, who was an eye-catching second in the Queen’s Cup; English stayer Illustrious Blue who was ninth in the Melbourne Cup; and Zipping’s stablemate Mourayan are nominated for both the Sandown Classic and the Sandown Cup.
Godolphin-owned Eastern Aria, Mackinnon Stakes placegetter Ginga Dude, last year’s VRC Oaks winner Faint Perfume, and Saturday’s Matriarch Stakes winner Well Rounded are among other Classic entries.