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Midweek action - Sandown & Bendigo

Ballymore heads to Sandown with three nice types on Wednesday, our first runner of the day being Nordic Duke in the second race, the Cove Hotel Handicap over 1600m.

To be ridden by Michael Walker from barrier four, the lightly raced five-year-old has only five rivals but it is, says Michael Moroney, not an easy race.

"It is a small but select field," he said - "but we are very happy with the horse and it will be interesting to see how he measures up in city class."

Not racing at metropolitan level since finishing second to Raffles Pegasus at Listed level as a two-year-old, Nordic Duke has been in good form this time in - winning two of his last three at Werribee and Ballarat.

Jelly Baby is the second of our trio of Sandown runners, the good staying mare kicking off her spring campaign in the sixth event - the Le Pine Funerals Handicap over 1400m.

To jump from barrier 11 with apprentice Chad Schofield aboard, the five-year-old daughter of Istidaad will be imrpoved by whatever she shows over the sprinting trip.

"We expect it will be a bit too short for her," Moroney said.

Another staying type resuming is Maythehorsebemagic who contests the final race, the 1800m Ahern's At Highways Handicap.

Equal topweight (60kg) before the claim of Damien Thornton, the last start Gr.3 Queen's Cup runner-up has the outside gate to deal with but Moroney thinks he is capable of running a cheeky race.

"It is below his best distances," he admitted, "but he has some residual fitness from his Queensland campaign."

A busier day at Bendigo on Thursday with five runners kicking off with debutant Cheeky Roza in the opening event, a 1300m maiden.

Drawn in barrier nine for Darren Gauci, the daughter of Golan is new to the stable having won a Cranbourne trial before coming to us.

"She is still immature," Moroney said, "and there is not a lot of her. But she does possess some ability so she is an interesting runner."

Green when fourth at his recent Ballarat debut, the promising Tempest Rock is second up in the second race, a 1400m maiden - Luke Currie to ride from barrier ten.

"The query is that he just might be an autumn horse," said Moroney, "but this run will tell us where he is at. His first up runw as good and he did a bit wrong there."

"He is," he added, "a horse we have always liked."

We have to wait till the seventh event for our next runner, All Out War topweight in the 1600m Showcase - due to jump from barrier eight for Luke Currie.

Safely held when resuming over 1400m, he will be improved by this run, Moroney noting that he is one to keep an eye on in the future, describing hi as "a nice staying type."

We saddle up two runners in the final event, a 1400m ratings handicap - Spectral Black (barrier one, Jordan Childs) and Monte Carlo (barrier nine, Luke Currie).

A game debut winner - fighting back after being headed by the odds-on favourite - at his Wangaratta debut on Father's Day, Spectral Black has pleased the stable with his progress since.

"He is up in class but he has the claim and is drawn nicely again - and he has trained on well."

Monte Carlo meanwhile, an import making his Australian debut, will be improved - his best overseas form coming over longer trips.

[18 Sep 12]

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