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Carnival is over: Melbourne reflects on an epic Spring

J A McGrath

One of the most successful Melbourne Spring Carnivals draws to a close with the running of the G2 Zipping Classic and G2 Sandown Guineas this Saturday.

It is a barometer of customer preference that Sandown Park, Melbourne, which opened in 1965, is the least popular of the city’s four metropolitan tracks these days.

But the quality of competitor this weekend is still high, considering there have been six consecutive weeks of the best racing in Australia. High pressure action inevitably leaves its mark but there will be worthy winners across the board at this fixture.

Godolphin interest centres on stalwart Tally, an old favourite, who has not won since taking the G3 Japan Plate at Randwick in April.

But he is only a step away from amassing a career total of A$1m in prizemoney, and if he can win the G3 Eclipse Stakes he will become a seven-figure earner.

He can expect strong opposition from the Tony McEvoy-trained Bring Me Roses.

Apart from Tally in Melbourne, trainer James Cummings sends out the unbeaten Roheryn in the opening Sydney race at Rosehill Gardens.

The Lonhro colt blitzed his opposition on only his second outing last time, and a slight drop in distance is not going to make the slightest bit of difference, in my view. He is an exciting young horse.

On Sunday at Sha Tin, some of the best Hong Kong contenders will have their final preps for the big Hong Kong International Races on Sunday, 9 December.

The John Moore-trained Beauty Generation will seek to defend his Hong Kong Mile crown but first he is favoured to land Sunday’s Jockey Club Cup.

Zac Purton, the outspoken Champion, has already warned rival jockeys not to ‘rough up’ Beauty Generation this weekend. “If they do, they can expect to come off second best,” Purton said.

If they attempt to challenge him for the lead, sparks will fly, nothing is more certain.