Henwood Will Not Contest 2014 Sandown Stakes

November 12th, 2014

Included in nominations for two events at Sandown Racecourse this weekend, trainer John Sadler has revealed he will not accept a position in the final field of the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) for Henwood; instead favouring the shorter Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes over 1200m.

Henwood will contest the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes, rather than the 2014 Sandown Stakes. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Henwood will contest the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes, rather than the 2014 Sandown Stakes. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Securing a commendable total of seven wins and eight minor places from just 26 competitive appearances on course so far, Henwood was given a light spell after finishing fifth in a minor over 1600m on September 6th; returning for an agonizingly-close second in the City Jeep Handicap (1000m) on October 25th.

While conceding the 1500m of the Sandown Stakes is more likely to play into the strengths of the Savabeel gelding on Saturday, Sadler believes Henwood may have some queries in jumping up 500m in running distance without a middle form indicator.

“His best chance would be in the 1500,” Sadler told AAP.

“But he would be going from 1000 to 1500 and I don’t think he’d be quite ready for the 1500, so he’ll run in the weight-for-age race.

“Even though he’s not a weight-for-age horse, it’s not really a weight-for-age race in that it hasn’t really got any genuine weight-for-age horses.”

Understandably pleased with Henwood’s first-up performance last time out, Sadler is confident previous appearances and results at Sandown as well as a strong barrier trial on Tuesday underline a good chance for a return to the winner’s circle on Saturday.

“I was really happy with him,” Sadler added.

“He was here to get a nice piece of ground to gallop on.

“He’s won here before, likes the place and he’s had a good blow-out for Saturday with that jump-out.”

Returning to racing in good form this year, Henwood ran fourth in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1300m) on April 26th and continued to build in form and class on his way to a credible fourth in the Listed VRC-CRV Winter Championship Final (1600m) most notably on July 12th; finishing just off the pace of classy trio Akavoroun, The Cleaner and Gig.

A final field and barrier draw for both the 2014 Sandown Stakes and Kevin Heffernan Stakes are due to be completed and released on Wednesday morning.

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