Vinland impresses at a wet Sandown

Jockey Andrew Mallyon is in no doubt Vinland is a colt on the rise after the lightly raced three-year-old toyed with his rivals at a rain-soaked Sandown.

Trainer Tony McEvoy thought enough of Vinland to run him in the Group Two Sandown Guineas over 1600m last month, which was just his second start after a lengthy lay-off.

Vinland loomed up in the Guineas to look a winning threat before fading to finish fifth and on Saturday he dropped back in grade for the Spicer Thoroughbreds Handicap (1600m).

With added fitness on his side, Vinland settled back in the field on the heavy track before cruising to the front in the straight once Mallyon angled him into the clear on the outside.

Vinland, who drifted from $2.60 to $3.40 favourite, put almost four lengths on his rivals before Mallyon eased him down in the final 50m to win by 1-3/4 lengths.

“It was definitely as impressive as it looked,” Mallyon said.

Mallyon was back aboard Vinland after riding the colt a month earlier to a maiden win at Bendigo in the three-year-old’s first start back from knee surgery.

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“He’s got the makings of a very good horse,” Mallyon said.

“He was expected to beat those today but the thing that impressed me the most was the amount of improvement he has made from when I sat on him at Bendigo to today, and also just his manners and the way he relaxed.

“He just towed me into the race and not many quicken like that on a wet track.

“I think he’s definitely one for the future.”

Robert Smerdon-trained Atone ($6) finished second and Grand Casino ($11) was another short neck away in third.

McEvoy’s Melbourne stable foreman Michael Shepherdson said the trainer had always considered Vinland a quality colt and the Group One Australian Guineas could be a target later in the season.

“It just made a bit of a wet, miserable day very exciting,” Shepherdson said.