Ruling Sandown Cup favourite Mister Harlewood will continue his build-up to Australia’s most prestigious staying event when he heads to The Meadows on Saturday night.
Trained by Jeff Britton, Mister Harlewood has started only twice over 700m but the staying novice has created such an impression in two runaway Sandown Park victories that TAB has installed him as $5 favourite in its ‘all in’ Sandown Cup market.
The heats of the Sandown Cup will be held on Thursday, May 21, with the Group 1 final one week later.
“I think they’re probably looking for something to make favourite but he has been pretty impressive in his last two wins at Sandown,” said Jeff Britton.
“I couldn’t be happier with him. Both his Sandown wins been great runs and he’s more or less thrashed a pretty good stayer in Just Terms both times.
“I wasn’t really sure that he would stay. They told me his mother (Miss Woods) could stay and I always intended to try him over it but every time you do it you’re only hoping.
“I’d say that out of every hundred strong 600m dogs only half a dozen would really get the 700m. I’m talking about dogs that are trying.”
While Mister Harlewood’s sire, Worm Burner, won the National Sprint Championship, he has a strong staying pedigree in his dam-line, through NSW Greyhound of the Year and Group 1 winner Miagi and legendary stud dog Token Prince.
Mister Harlewood will be making his 725m debut at The Meadows on Saturday in race eight, with TAB marking him $1.75 favourite.
He excels at The Meadows, winning five from 11 over 525m, and he was a close-up fourth in the Group 1 Australian Cup in February, while he’s also won two from three over 600m and The Meadows will play into his front-running staying style.
“He’s got a really good record at The Meadows but it hasn’t been a great preparation,” Britton warned.
“He hasn’t raced for three or four weeks so whatever he does on Saturday he’ll be better the following week.
“He had a bit of a niggle after his second win at Sandown (April 9) so he had a week off and then I entered him but they didn’t put a race on.
“I trialled him over 460m at Geelong on Tuesday and he got beaten by a dog called Mepunga Wonder. It would probably be a different story over 700m.
“It’s not an easy race either. Weblec Eagle has a lot of pace, especially off the red, and Robert’s (brother’s) dog Blazing Cartier won a free for all at Sandown last start, beating Ella Enchanted, which is also in the race.
“I’ve also got Repercussions there, which is another dog starting off over 700m and he looks like he’ll just get there. He won at Horsham on Tuesday in fast time over 485m.”
Britton has another excellent winning chance at The Meadows in dual Group 1 finalist Steinbrenner, which is $1.60 favourite from box one in race 4, a 525m Grade 5 heat.
“He’d been up for a fair while and he’s had a month off to freshen up. His last trial was brilliant and I expect him to run well.”