Sandown to suit The Longest Yard

Trainer Matthew Brown and jockey Brian Higgins headed to the debut outing of The Longest Yard with a good deal of confidence.

The Lean Mean Machine gelding did not let the pair down in that 1000m contest at Bairnsdale and now the three-year-old heads to town for a benchmark 64 contest at Sandown.

The Longest Yard faces a step up in distance to 1200m on Wednesday when he heads to the Ladbrokes Hub Handicap, a race that could decide the gelding’s immediate future.

Brown resisted the temptation of entering The Longest Yard for the spring upcoming features but said he could be enticed to pay a late entry.

But the trainer also owns a significant amount of the gelding and if the right offer came in, The Longest Yard could do his future racing overseas.

That is all a pipe dream for Brown at this stage though, but the trainer says the bigger Sandown circuit and the step up in trip will be advantageous for The Longest Yard on Wednesday.

“Bairnsdale can be a bit tricky when you track wide, but he did a good job and he knuckled down late,” Brown said.

“The best part of his race was probably his last 100 metres, so we’re looking forward to getting him to a bigger track and up in trip.

“From day dot he gave us a really nice feel. We didn’t test him too much in his trials, but we always knew there was something there.

“Brian went to Bairnsdale pretty confident he would be hard to beat.

“The barrier probably tipped him off a bit, but it probably played out in his favour as he was able to be out three deep without too much traffic in front of him and he ended being too good.”

The Longest Yard is the least experienced galloper engaged in Wednesday’s race and Brown said it was an even contest.

“They’re all in the same boat, coming off nice maiden wins and all wanting to progress to a better grade,” Brown said.

“He’s still quite immature and we might not see the best of him for another six or 12 months, but at this time of year, we need a dream, so we’ll take that natural step to Sandown and see where he fits.”

Brown will also saddle up Swindon Lass in the Ladbrokes Yard Comments Handicap (1600m).

The mare will be having her first outing in 11 months and Brown said Swindon Lass had been given a long slow build-up to get her as fit as possible to start her first-up over 1600m.

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