Sandown staying numbers in short supply

Lloyd Williams has entered three runners in the Sandown race named for his grand campaigner Zipping.

Two major staying races at Sandown are set to have less than capacity fields with nominations extended.

Entries for the Zipping Classic (2400m) at weight-for-age on Saturday and the 3200m-Sandown Cup will remain open until 10am on Tuesday.

Only nine horses have been nominated for the Zipping Classic with 14 in the Sandown Cup.

Recent staying races have attracted small fields with the exception of the Melbourne Cup and the 2800m-race on Cup day.

A field of 10 ran in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes with 10 runners in the Lexus Stakes the previous week.

Previously fields of seven had contested the Moonee Valley and Bendigo Cups.

The Zipping Classic is named after the Lloyd Williams-owned dual Group One winner who won the race on four consecutive occasions from 2007 to 2010.

Williams also won the race, known as the Sandown Classic, with Legible in 2003 and Tanby in 2012.

The six-time Melbourne Cup winning owner has nominated three horses for this year’s Zipping Classic and intends running all three, Almandin, Assign and The Taj Mahal.

Almandin, the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner, finished 12th behind Rekindled in last Tuesday’s Cup when sent out the $7 equal favourite.

Assign is coming off a last-start fourth in the Coongy Stakes at Caulfield on October 21 while The Taj Mahal finished fourth behind Tosen Stardom in Saturday’s Group One Emirates Stakes at Caulfield.

“I am just a bit worried about him (The Taj Mahal) backing up after having a run on a hard track,” Williams told radio station RSN927.

Williams has locked in Damien Oliver, who returns from a suspension which ruled him out of Cup week, Ben Melham and Kerrin McEvoy for the rides on the three stayers.

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