Black And Bent after six straight

Robbie Laing is well represented in Saturday’s The Australian Hurdle at Sandown but says in-form rival Black And Bent is definitely the horse to beat.

Laing will saddle up three runners – reigning Grand National Hurdle victor Desert Master and Tuesday’s Warrnambool hurdle winners Corries and Vindicating.
“Black And Bent is a standout. He seems to be pitchforked into the race (with 66kg which is just 2kg above the minimum),” Laing said.

“He won the Lachal Hurdle last year and the Galleywood at Warrnambool but I can’t blue about it because I love what the handicapper said, that we want to keep the good horses running with weights they can win with.

“My horse Mazzacano (favourite for Saturday’s The Australian Steeplechase) has won eight of 11 jumping starts and has got 69kg.

“So I can’t whinge about Black And Bent and then say that’s fine for Mazzacano.”

Desert Master drops 1.5kg to 66.5kg on Saturday from the 68kg he carried when a two-length third to the Robert Smerdon-trained Black And Bent in the Galleywood Hurdle and meets Black And Bent 0.5kg better for a two-length defeat.

“He looked like he would win the Galleywood coming to the last, but he made a mess of it and it took him 100 metres to recover,” Laing said.

“We were pretty confident he could win the Galleywood after the way he ran on the flat at Caulfield in the lead-up to it and he ran great.”

Laing said Corries and Vindicating, who are both by Zabeel, came through their wins at Warrnambool on Tuesday with flying colours.

“They are both very fit and pulled up well and they both had a look at the track at Sandown a fortnight ago when second (Vindicating) and third (Corries) behind Famous Prince,” he said.

Laing said the heavy (8)-rated track would suit Desert Master as well as Corries who has won three of four starts on heavy tracks.

“Corries loves it and Vindicating gets through it,” he said.

Black And Bent, who has been mixing flat and jumps racing brilliantly and is chasing his sixth straight win, is $1.90 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of his stablemate and half-brother Some Are Bent at $4.50.

Tibooburra Travis is third pick at $6.50 with Grizz at $10 and Desert Master and Famous Prince next best at $12.

Vindicating is at $15 with Corries at $18.