After claiming several high-profile speedsters in recent weeks, giant-slaying sprinter Jepara will continue his march towards next month’s G1 Maturity Classic in Thursday night’s GR8 Eight (515m) at Sandown Park.
Jepara (Box 8) is $3.70 joint favourite with Providence Bale (Box 1) in Race 6 at 7.55pm, having ended Providence Bale’s seven-race winning streak and also beaten odds-on favourite Tiggerlong Tonk at The Meadows last Thursday.
Prior to that, the Angela Langton-trained son of Fernando Bale and Tarks Nemesis, winner of 13 from 37 and a finalist in the G1 Silver Chief, had also broken Christo Bale’s four-race unbeaten run.
After his impressive last start victory, where he overcame a tough run in transit, Jepara, bred and raced by Langton and her mother Sue Smith’s ‘Champagne’ syndicate, is striving to break a sequence of his own, having gone ‘win loss, win loss’ at his last nine starts.
But Langton says drawing box eight on Thursday won’t help Jepara’s prospects of securing consecutive wins for the first time since opening his career with three straight victories last September.
“His win last week was very good,” Langton said.
“He took a few knocks but just kept going and ran away from them in the end.
“He’s going really well but box eight is never a good box at Sandown. It’s a real disadvantage to be drawn out wide there – it’s very hard to get across seven other dogs – and it’s a great field too.
“We’ll just have to hope that Yozo Bale (Box 7) begins well and goes to the fence and gives Jepara a cart across.
“Jepara is as good as anything in the race but he’s going to need some luck getting around the first corner.
“He’s heading towards the Maturity and he’s still only young but I think in the future he will get further. His mother ran ‘700’ so he’s bred to get further.”
Among Jepara’s key rivals is ‘kennelmate’ Do It, a $6 chance prepared by Langton’s partner Jeff Britton, which is also confronted by an awkward draw in six.
Do It has also been racing in great form, qualifying for the G2 Warrnambool Cup final, clocking a flying 29.15sec at Sandown, and running second in the G2 Flying Amy at Albion Park.
“Do It has a lot of ability but he relies on a little bit of luck early because while he can begin he can be a bit awkward early in his races,” Langton said.
There will also be a ‘family feud’ between Langton and Britton in the 715m GR8 Eight (Race 8 at 8.40pm), where both will be trying to topple G1 Sandown Cup hero Zipping Rambo, the $2 favourite.
Britton has the $2.30 second elect in Hank The Hustler and $21 outsider Weblec Haze, while Langton’s hope are with Star Blazer, which is $12 after running a close second to Hank The Hustler in a GR8 Eight (725m) at The Meadows last Saturday.
“Star Blazer wasn’t far behind Hank The Hustler and while I think he goes better at The Meadows he always gives 100 per cent,” Langton said.
WATCH: Jepara (4) topples a red-hot field of sprinters at The Meadows last Thursday night.
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