AN exciting Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival concludes with the running of Saturday's group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600 metres) on the Sandown Hillside track.
There has been some great racing this spring: All Too Hard's strong win in the Caulfield Guineas, Dunaden's triumph in the BMW Caulfield Cup, Ocean's Park top spring racing in the Cox Plate.
To top it off, the Melbourne Cup was one of the best in its 152-year history, giving Australia's leading owner Lloyd Williams a record-equalling fourth cup, this time with Green Moon.
Cranbourne-based jockey Craig Williams, on Dunaden, and well-known local businessman, Gerry Ryan, with Americain, had no luck at the Melbourne Cup.
Saturday's super meeting features the group 2 Sportingbet Sandown Guineas (1600m), the group 2 Deadly Design Zipping Classic (2400m), the group 3 Snowhite Maintenance Eclipse Stakes (1800m) and the Listed Sportingbet Sandown Cup (3200m).
The Sandown Guineas has been the race of future champions. The likes of Always There, Adbul, Taj Rossi, So Called, Galleon and Durbridge have been winners. Storm Ruler, Analight, Denise's Joy and the mighty Saintly were placed.
Last year, Americain followed his luckless run at Flemington with an impressive win in the Zipping Classic and the 125th running this year should draw more international interest.
The race was renamed the Zipping Classic in 2011 after an incredible effort by Zipping in 2010 to win the Sandown Classic for the fourth straight year.
The Zipping Classic was first run as the Williamstown Cup in 1888 and later renamed the Sandown Cup. It then became the Sandown Classic. The race has been run at the now-defunct Williamstown racecourse, Caulfield, Flemington, Moonee Valley and, of course, Sandown, making it the only event to have been contested on five Melbourne metropolitan tracks.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse has announced that Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente and stablemate Glencadam Gold will be entered for the Deadly Design Zipping Classic.
Also lining up is Mourayan, stablemate of Green Moon, whose owner Williams raced Zipping.
Entries do not close until today but two bonuses, each worth $100,000 and offered by the Melbourne Racing Club, should attract strong entries for the Zipping Classic and Sandown Cup.
There are 19 horses eligible for the Sandown Cup bonus, including a number of the international visitors.
First introduced in 2010, the 3200m of the Sandown Cup will allow the winner to pass distance qualifications for next year's Melbourne Cupmaking it one of the few other "two-milers" run in Australia.