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Crocodile Rock impresses Melham at Sandown

Lightly raced import Crocodile Rock has shown his class with a convincing victory at Sandown and jockey Ben Melham has predicted he will win better races.

Racing in the colours of prominent owner Lloyd Williams, the five-year-old was having just his third Australian start and fifth of his career in Wednesday’s Le Pine Funerals Handicap, stepping to 2400m after a second at Flemington over 1600m on January 1.

After settling fifth, Crocodile Rock cruised up in the straight before Melham asked the $1.95 favourite for an effort.

Crocodile Rock strode to a 1-3/4 length win over Sweet Melody, making it two wins from his three starts in Australia.

“He gave me the feel of a very nice horse,” Melham said.

Melham said he was mindful Crocodile Rock was stepping up sharply in distance on Wednesday.

“Lloyd assured me he was fit and said the horse had a lot of class and the horse certainly didn’t let us down,” Melham said.

“There was definitely a bit left and I think he will win better races for sure.”

Well-bred filly Extra Olives, meanwhile, landed an important city win and formed part of a race-to-race double for the Lee and Anthony Freedman stable and apprentice Ben Thompson.

By Redoute’s Choice, Extra Olives is out of Line Honours, a daughter of former champion filly Alinghi.

Her 1-1/2 length victory in the Thoroughbred Club Handicap (1300m) was Extra Olive’s third from nine starts but first town.

It came a race after Thompson had guided stablemate Cliff Hanger to win the Dream Thoroughbreds Handicap.

Stakes races in Tasmania are on the radar for another well-bred filly, Rodin’s Doll, after she broke her maiden in the Yarramalong Racing Club Plate.

The Robert Smerdon-trained Rodin’s Doll is by champion racehorse So You Think out of Queensland Oaks winner Zagalia.

Suman Hedge, representing owners Champion Thoroughbreds Victoria, indicated the upcoming Strutt Stakes and Tasmanian Oaks were on the radar.

“It’s really nice to see her break through,” Hedge said.

“She’s been a filly who has been knocking on the door her last couple of starts and she looks like she has got good staying ability.

“We’re just hoping that we can now win a bit of black type with her and she would be a very valuable broodmare.”

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