Raffaello to back up at Sandown
Raffaello is likely to back up in Saturday’s Group Two Sandown Classic a week after landing first 2000 metre win at Flemington.
The Encosta de Lago five-year old was one of Melbourne Cup winning trainer Mark Kavanagh’s five winners over the four days of the Flemington carnival.
Raffaello ($4 eq fav), one of Michael Rodd’s six winners over the four days, did a good job under 58kg to come from midfield in the small field of eight in Saturday’s Melbourne Cup Community Fund Handicap.
Beautifully ridden with cover by Rodd, Raffaello appreciated the big drop in class from the Group Three Crystal Mile to score a comfortable 1-1/4 length win over stablemate Itstheone with My Bentley 1-1/2 lengths away third.
"I’ll see how he does but I’ve spaced his races and that might bring him on," Kavanagh said.
Kavanagh and Rodd, the leading trainer and jockey at Flemington, combined for four wins over the four days, claiming a double on Saturday when Sound Journey ($8.50) defeated stablemate Old Saint by a head in the Emirates Airlines Hcp (1400m).
Raffaello, who was second to subsequent Group One Mackinnon Stakes runner-up Miss Maren in the Group Three Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield last April, will be having his first try at 2400 metres in the weight-for-age Sandown Classic.
After his first up win over 1200 metres at Caulfield from Maxisun and Vigor on August 15, Raffaello was kept to races up to 1600 over the spring before Saturday’s victory.
He was third behind Turffontein in the Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) when second up at Caulfield in September.
But he couldn’t make up ground from well back when 11th behind Allez Wonder in the Group One Toorak Hcp (1600m) at Caulfield and fifth to Rangirangdoo in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley, both last month.
"He likes to run on in his races but in those mile races it just wasn’t a run-on track," Kavanagh said.
Among Raffaello’s Sandown Classic opposition will be fellow Flemington winner Purple, Zipping, who is going fot his third successive win in the race, and possibly international stayer Munsef who ran 12th in the Melbourne Cup.
By Mark Ryan