Sandhu’s weighting game for Lofty’s G1 Newmarket Handicap strike

Julius Sandhu couldn’t be happier with his stable start Lofty Strike as they chase an elusive win at the highest level in Saturday’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

This time last year the dream of winning the Blue Diamond was well over for Cranbourne-based trainer Sandhu as injury struck the then promising juvenile and was ruled out for the rest of the year.

To this year and Lofty Strike has not only returned a Group 2 winner but also snared second placing in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Sandown ten days ago behind Uncommon James.

Now Sandhu’s attention turns to another time-honoured feature, and what the handicapper will have the three-year-old carrying down the famous Flemington straight.

“He’s pulled up super,” Sandhu said of the colt’s time since that Sandown run.

“He’ll have a good hit out on Tuesday and Froggy (Craig Newitt) will come down and ride him with hopefully a little more luck this time.

“He was enormous at Sandown. Outside of winning, he did everything else.”

Stewards noted that Lofty Strike had to be eased off Zapateo’s heels shortly after the start in the Oakleigh Plate effort.

“You can’t fault the horse’s run and in Group One racing you need an ounce of luck against quality horses. Hopefully thing’s go our way on Saturday,” Sandhu added.

With Craig Newitt retaining the ride on Lofty Strike, the colt is rated a $13 chance in post-nominations markets with I Wish I Win the $3 favourite.

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