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VRC Sires’ Produce hopes to run at Sandown

A midweek city race for juveniles was a strong pointer towards the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes 12 months ago and the corresponding race could do likewise this year at Sandown.

Wednesday’s meeting includes the Moorookyle Park Stud Handicap (1300m) for two-year-olds which has a field of 11 including Eshtiraak from the Lindsay Park stable.

The winner of two of his three starts, Eshtiraak is one of the horses on a path to the Group Two VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington next month, won last year by his stablemate Seaburge.

Seaburge came through the corresponding Sandown race which was won by the Clinton McDonald-trained Revolving Door.

“This was the race Seaburge ran second in to Revolving Door and then he came out and won the Sires,” co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.

“And we’ll go to the Sires’ with Eshtiraak.”

Revolving Door also progressed to the Sires’ Produce last year and finished third.

Eshtiraak is one of two runners for trainers David and Ben Hayes and Dabernig in Wednesday’s race along with Feng Chu who finished fourth to stablemate Formality in the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes last start at Caulfield.

Eshtiraak is being shaded for early favouritism at $3.40 with the Steve Richards-trained Sunquest at $3.30.

Sunquest finished a closing second to Eshtiraak last start at Sandown.

The Tony McEvoy-trained Coppergate, who hit the line well on debut for second to Blue Diamond contender Jukebox in the Inglis Premier, is at $4.80 and is another who could progress to the Sires’.

Both Seaburge and Revolving Door were Blue Diamond Stakes emergencies last year and connections opted to run them at Sandown rather than wait to see whether there were enough scratchings from the Blue Diamond three days later.

The John Salanitri-trained Sheer Madness was entered for Wednesday’s race but has been scratched.

He is first emergency for Saturday’s $1.5 million Blue Diamond and will run if he gains a start.

“Obviously being first emergency is not the ideal thing to happen but it still keeps the dream alive, so we’ll sit on the fence and wait,” Frank Salanitri, assistant trainer and racing manager to his brother John, said.

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