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Interstate targets for Sandown winners

Interstate targets are on the radar for a number of horses who have made their mark at the public holiday meeting at Sandown.

Sandown hosted city racing on Easter Monday and trainer Mike Moroney is considering a Queensland Derby campaign for lightly-raced three-year-old Top Of The Range who scored a hard-fought win in the Chef’s Hat South Melbourne Handicap (1600m).

The short half-head win over Nertherfield came at Top Of The Range’s third start and he is now unbeaten in two starts as a a gelding after breaking his maiden at Pakenham first-up last month.

Moroney said the Derby would be the preferred Queensland target if they decide to take him north.

“One of the reasons we may do that is that a trip away just might make the horse,” Moroney said.

“Because he’s got to grow up quickly by the time he turns four to take on the older horses.”

Fellow trainers Doug Harrison and Daniel McCarthy, are looking towards the Adelaide carnival for their respective horses, Lopartega and Ashlor after their Sandown wins.

Lopartega won the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Extra Handicap (1600m) by four lengths and Harrison has the Group Two Queen Of The South Stakes over the same distance as a likely target for the mare in South Australia.

Lopartega went to Adelaide last season for the Australasian Oaks (2000m) but finished second last.

“The way she just went away from them, that’s what I wanted to see today,” Harrison said.

“I’ve always had hopes of taking her back over to Adelaide for the carnival.

“We went there last year but were a run behind going over there. She won brilliantly at Bendigo and then got over there and lightened off terribly and she ran jaded.

“I thought we’d get back there this year and try to make amends.”

McCarthy is preparing to have a crack at the Group Two Euclase Stakes (1200m) with three-year-old Ashlor who sat three-wide, carrying 62kg after Mitchell Aiken’s claim, and still proved too good in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1200m) to win by three-quarters of a length.

It was his fifth win from seven starts in restricted grade.

“He’s learning all the time and if he ever draws a barrier, I think we might see the best of him,” McCarthy said.

“We’ll throw him in the deep end now and head over to Adelaide and look at the Euclase.”

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