The $270,500 Sportsbet Group 1 Sandown Cup (715m) – Australia’s most prestigious staying event – was billed as a ‘Battle of Britton’ and it went according to script… Well, if you heeded heat times last week!
But this time it was younger brother Jeff, who upstaged his older sibling, Rob, in taking out a $175,000 first prize with Korda.
Rob was chasing his third victory in Sandown GRC’s staying flagship, having won with superstars Fanta Bale (2017) and Tornado Tears (2018).
“He gives 100 per cent every time he starts; and he begins, which is the beauty with him.”
However, Jeff shattered his Sandown Cup ‘hoodoo’ to claim his first Sandown Cup trophy. He had previously finished runner-up with True Detective (2020) and third with Tyler Durden (2021), Mepunga Tiara (2014) and Lady Moscato (2009).
Korda ($4.80) staved off the fast-finishing First Picked ($10.50) by 0.6L in 41.83sec. NSW staying ‘next big thing’ Zipping Orlando ($5.40) was a further 5.1L away third.
The starting prices of Korda and First Picked were quite extraordinary given they were the fastest and second-fastest qualifiers with only a ‘pimple’ separating them – First Picked (41.74sec) and Korda (41.75sec).
A five-time G1 finalist, Korda registered his 13th win from 52 starts and fifth win from 11 starts over 715m at Sandown Park.
Jeff’s partner, Angela Langton – who had Osprey Athena (8th) in the final – deputised for him as he was unwell.
“It’s a race I’ve never won, and Jeff hadn’t won either,” she told Sky Racing’s Jason Adams.
“To win it with a dog we own as well… It’s really a super win. Yeah, very exciting.
“We’ve got great staff at home that help us, and the dogs are going really well. We’ve had a great night.
“He’s getting that little bit older and he’s putting it together, and for a stayer he’s a really hard chaser.
WATCH: “It’s a grand slam” for KORDA (B4), who holds off FIRST PICKED (B5) in a riveting edition of the G1 Sandown Cup.
“He gives 100 per cent every time he starts; and he begins, which is the beauty with him.
“Jeff wasn’t well tonight, so he stayed home. Hopefully he’s feeling a little bit better tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the $14,250 Bill Collins Showdown (515m) – Kelsey Bale (Box 1) vs Amron Boy (Box 3) – lived up to its pre-race hype and razzmatazz.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Kelsey Bale ($2.00) – trained by Daniel Gibbons – led rounding the first turn and strode down the back straight with a handy break.
But Amron Boy ($1.40F) – prepared by Brooke Ennis – somehow summoned something from within, which only champions can do, to overhaul his classy opponent over the latter stages by 1.7L in 29.42sec.
A six-time G1 finalist – including wins in last year’s Silver Chief and this year’s Harrison-Dawson – Amron Boy notched his ninth win from 17 starts over 515m at Sandown Park.
Other feature race winners on the star-studded program were:
- $22,000 (Winner: $15,000) G3 The Lizrene Classic (715m)
It was a good ‘Moon’ rising for Jess Hopkins when Alfie Moon ($5.70) – named after a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders –accounted for NSW powerhouse Tiger Jack ($11.70) by 0.8L in 41.86sec. Talk about “a marvellous night for a moondance”!
- $16,385 (Winner: $13,800) G3 Racecallers Showdown (595m)
Prepared by Lisa Cockerell, Hector Fawley ($1.10F) – a three-time G3 finalist – proved a real middle-distance ‘wizard’ defeating NSW star Punter’s Bandit ($3.30) by 3.7L in a slick 33.87sec. He’s been the ‘Minister for Magic’ at Sandown Park – unbeaten in three starts over 595m.
$22,000 (Winner: $15,000) GRV VicBred Maiden Series Final (515m)
Trained by ‘man of the moment’ Jeff Britton, Departed ($3.90) – a son of WA superstar Tommy Shelby – remained unbeaten from three starts over this track/distance and made it three wins on the trot defeating kennelmate Mepunga Surprise ($9.70) by 6L in 29.53sec.
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