By David Nagel
Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent has continued his love affair with the spacious surrounds of Sandown by training a winning double on the Lakeside track on Wednesday.
Just four days earlier Kent trained his first Saturday metropolitan double in four years when Comica and Falls won impressively on the Hillside track at Sandown.
Kent continued his winning run in race three on the eight-race card when his three-year-old filly Always In Moment showed great courage to score in the $50,000 Ladbrokes Handicap (1300m).
Always In Moment sat wide of the entire field down the back straight before jockey Damian Lane pushed forward to sit outside the pace. Lane booted clear at the 300-metre mark but looked in trouble when Ben Allen and Ocean’s Jen laid down a strong challenge.
But Always In Moment had something more to give and booted clear over the concluding stages to win by nearly two lengths.
Always In Moment has had an impressive start to her racing career, having won two of her first four starts.
Kent didn’t have to wait too long for his fourth winner in five days at the track when Leale scored a stylish victory in race five, the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Mares Handicap (1600m).
Slow out of the gates, Leale was hunted forward by apprentice Alan Kelly, sitting outside the race leader Mostly Sunny, who kicked clear at the 300-metre mark and looked home.
But Kelly summoned all her strength to gradually chase down the leader and grind her way to a half-length victory on the line.
Leale and Mostly Sunny dominated the concluding stages, with race favourite Perennial working home nicely into third place.
Leale, a daughter of Moshe/Successfully, has now won four races from her 19 starts and accumulated over $260,000 in prizemoney.
Kent was forced to share the limelight on Wednesday, with champion hoop Jamie Kah also booting home a winning double.
Kah started her day on the right foot, piloting the Robbie Griffiths/Mathew de Kock-trained Token Spirit to victory in race one, before completing her winning double aboard Dirty Deeds in race six.
Kah settled Token Spirit back in a small field over 2400-metres before moving into the race on the home turn. Token Spirit cantered to the lead with 200 metres to run and showed an electrifying turn of foot to race clear of her rivals for a two-length victory.
The three-year-old gelding is small in stature but has shown promise as a stayer, with the Griffiths-de Kock yard thinking enough of him to run in the $500,000 Group-1 South Australian Derby in May this year.
Kah then rode a bottler of a race on the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Dirty Deeds, first fighting off the challenge of Duke of Plumpton before surviving a surging late finish from the $1.90 race favourite Smokin’ Romans.
Kah sat one-out-one-back on the eventual winner, covering Smokin’ Romans on her inside, before kicking clear of the favourite in the home straight. Smokin’ Romans was the run of the race, but Kah’s initiative to surge clear while Smokin’ Romans was stuck in traffic was the winning move of the race.
Dirty Deeds has now won three of his 16 starts, with Wednesday’s win over 2100 metres his first attempt beyond 1700 metres.
Sandown’s next meeting is set down for Wednesday, 30 June.