Amade out for redemption in Sandown Cup

Will Amade jump with the field or stay in the barriers in the Sandown Cup.

AMADE. Picture: Racing Photos

Which Amade will turn up to contest the Sandown Cup

That is the question trainer Phillip Stokes would like to answer in the positive, but the gelding's barrier antics at the start of the 3200m Listed race on Sunday will have a big bearing on the outcome. 

Amade has the potential to take out Sunday's race, but he also has the bad habit of missing the start, which he slipped back into at his last start when tenth in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 13. 

Stokes estimated the imported stayer missed the start by more than he was beaten, which was officially 9-¼ lengths. 

Racing NSW stewards placed a ban on Amade after the Sydney Cup debacle, and he had to trial to stewards satisfaction, which he did at Pakenham earlier in the month. 

"We've put a barrier blanket on him and put the blindfold back on him and we'll just try and change it up," Stokes said. 

"We've never used the barrier blanket before because he doesn't do anything wrong in the gates, but we just thought we'd try something different. 

"We took the blindfold off in the Sydney Cup thinking we might be able to trick him, but it didn't, so we're putting it back on now. 

"And Daniel Stackhouse will ride. A new rider, just another change for him." 

At his best, Amade should win the Sandown Cup, transferred from late spring at Caulfield to a new date this year at the start of winter. 

Two starts back, Amade jumped with the field in the Adelaide Cup, but a lap from home, the stirrup leathers on Zac Spain's saddle snapped, placing the rider at a disadvantage. 

It was a huge performance, and even last spring, Amade won the Geelong Cup, before blowing his chances in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Cup (2600m) at Flemington on the final day of Melbourne Cup week by standing flat-footed. 

"I was going to tip him out and aim him for the Sandown Cup in the spring, but someone mentioned it to me that it had been moved, so I thought why not," Stokes said. 

"I'm happy with the horse. He's been in work for ever, but he does a lot of training at the farm, so we'll go around and if he's in the right frame of mind, he'll run a race."