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SANDOWN PARK: They are racing at Sandown Park on Thursday – Sandown Park, Australia that is for a cracking card – including the group 1 Harrison-Dawson and four heats of the RSN Sandown Cup – the country’s premier race for stayers. We mark your card as to the best bets.

Simon Told Helen is a clear top pick for Thursday’s group 1 Harrison-Dawson as the David Burnett trained sprinter continues to firm in betting.

Australia’s top ranked active sprinter, Simon Told Helen will line up for his ninth group race final (and he was scratched from a 10th) and sixth victory at group level. His heat win put punters on notice however it was the box draw that saw him consolidate favouritism for the $50,000 winner’s cheque.

While box 3 in itself was a good result, the lack of early speed either side of him should give Simon Told Helen ample room to show his trademark acceleration. He recorded what is believed to be the fastest time ever time recorded between the first and second split when winning the group 3 Cup Night Sprint on Melbourne Cup night last November, and the way the race maps he will get every chance to do the same again.

The biggest dangers will come from Jax Bale (box 7) – the fastest heat winner and recorded an identical middle section to Simon Told Helen – and Tiggerlong Tonk (box 6). The draws have done little to help their chances however and they will not only have to de everything right, but likely hope Simon Told Helen does something wrong. If there’s a greyhound at odds to build trifectas and first fours around, Vivatar may be the one. He’s far from the fastest dog in the race, but he will run a genuine 515m and is drawn ideally to capitalise on any errors by the leading contenders.

Since becoming a group 1 event in 2015, the Harrison-Dawson has been won by some of the sport’s biggest names – Fernando Bale (2015), Dundee Osprey (2016), Black Mumbo (2017), My Redeemer (2018) and Orson Allen (2019). Simon Told Helen looks set to add his name to add his name to a star-studded honour roll.

Four heats of the RSN Sandown Cup – the country’s premier race for stayers – will also be run and the depth and quality of the heats are as deep as we’ve seen in recent years.

Heat 1 – Race 2

Track record holder Here’s Tears (8) has been mixing his form of late but was only two lengths adrift of series favourite Mister Harlewood at his last start and trialled 29.42 over 515m last Wednesday to indicate he deserves to be favourite for this. Rockstar Beav (8) was very good last time out over 595m and the kennel is keen on him being drawn in box 8 as he steps back up to 715m. He Shall Power (3) has only had 16 career starts but his last two starts over 595m suggest he has a future over the ‘half-mile’.

Heat 2 – Race 4

The second RSN Sandown Cup is an intriguing affair. Captain Dynamite (4) is the least experienced greyhound in the series but few enter it with as much hype. After recording what may have been a record run home time on his 595m debut, he stepped up to 715m and produced a brilliant 10 length win in slick time. Owned in part by a syndicate of English greyhound fans, he has been the subject of a number of large bets on both sides of the equator and if he was to win the celebrations may be heard around the world. True Detective (1) is probably better suited over 595m but can run a good 715m and is drawn perfectly. Ella Enchanted (7) is an intriguing runner. Now four years old, injury has cruelled her throughout her career and while her form reads patchy, she is in very good hands, boasts an impressive best time at the track and has been well supported. Banga (6) has a poor winning record over the trip at Sandown but did trial very well on Saturday and is another that has had support at odds.

Heat 3 – Race 5

Series favourite Mister Harlewood (1) looks a lock to make next Thursday’s final after drawing the red in his heat. He’s done everything right this campaign having run the 2nd, 4th and 5thfastest winning times over the trip in 2020 (Here’s Tears owns the fastest and 3rd fastest times) and is undefeated since stepping up in distance. He was going to be hard to beat regardless of where he drew – box 1 is a massive bonus. Zipping Truvy (2) makes her 715m debut but gives every indication she’s handle it with aplomb and has been well supported at every stage of betting. Blazing Cartier (3) will stay all day and is trained by arguably the best conditioner of stayers in the country, Robert Britton, and Just Terms has had a freshen up and the kennel believes she is close to returning to her group 1 winning best.

Heat 4 – Race 7

Two RSN Sandown Cup winners will greet the starter in the final heat with Rajasthan (2) and Tornado Tears (5) hoping to become the sixth multiple Cup winner, and wouldn’t it be an amazing story if they could! Rajasthan rounded out his preparation with a dashing victory over 595m last Sunday, and while he turn in a head scratching run at times, that run was as impressive as you’ll see. Tornado Tears hasn’t raced since for 16 weeks as he recovered from a toe operation. He has 10 wins from 11 starts this track/distance and the last time he had a lengthy break, he returned with a group 1 win in the 2019 Zoom Top – one of five group 1 wins in his career. Submission (1), from the powerful Jason Thompson kennel, is another who won her 715m debut and has had solid support.

On any other night the Free For All (race 8) would be the highlight of the card, especially as it features 515m track record holder Hooked On Scotch (2) on his return to Sandown Park for the first time since running third in the Melbourne Cup last November. He’s second up from a lengthy injury break, but won well on his return at Warrnambool two weeks ago and if he can recapture his best form – and the kennel believes he can – then keep an eye on the clock!

There’s a $100,000 projected TAB quaddie pool, kicking off with race 5.

Best: Mister Harlewood (race 5 number 1)
Value: Vivatar to place (race 6 number 1)