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The next black type feature to run in Sydney during the summer carnival is this Saturday’s Christmas Cup 2011 at Rosehill Gardens, the final field for which has now been released.
Scheduled to run as Rosehill Race 6 at 4:25pm (local time), the $100,000 Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) has this year drawn a final field of 12 acceptors with the Craig Ritchie-trained Solid Billing and Chris Waller’s Strike One installed as the 58kg equal topweights.
Drawn in barrier seven with Jay Ford engaged for the ride Rock Of Gibraltar seven-year-old Solid Billing, winner of the 2009 Summer Cup, comes off a fifth place finish in the Listed Frank Underwood Cup (1900m) at Canterbury on November 26 when beaten under two lengths.
Fellow veteran, Danehill Dancer gelding Strike One also comes via the Frank Underwood having crossed three lengths away seventh to the winner Zara Dancer, the seven-year-old winning a 1900m Rosehill feature first-up the start before.
Strike One is out to give Waller successive Christmas Cup wins with their stablemate Bellagio Wynn having saluted in the race 12 months ago.
Other Frank Underwood Cup runners backing up in the Christmas Cup on Saturday include runner-up Yulalona, the third placed Scottish Border and the John Thompson-trained Count Encosta who ran fourth.
Yulalona has drawn well midfield in barrier six with Corey Brown to ride, this year’s Queensland Derby fourth placegetter set to improve with the step up in distance.
Scottish Border is wider in barrier nine, one of seven contenders on the 53kg minimum, the Danewin five-year-old having gone down a nose to Straight Albert in the Goulburn Cup (1600m) two starts back.
Colin and Cindy Alderson’s Cranbourne visitor Sea Galleon has enjoyed a favourable draw in gate five, the in-form Galileo gelding to be ridden by Glyn Schofield as they shoot for their third straight win.
Sea Galleon was last seen running away to win the D’Urban Handicap (2400m) on a Heavy (8) track at Sandown on November 26, the former SA Derby third placgetter racing in Sydney for the first time on Saturday.
The Steve Englebrecht-trained Assertive Billy is also out for their third win on the trot, the Reset six-year-old having drawn the far outside gate 12 of 12 for Saturday’s assignment.
Another notable Christmas Cup contender for 2011 is Kerry Parker’s Domesday four-year-old Nextanix.
A winner of two of their 14 starts to date, Nextanix is running on successive Saturdays having run a close third to Revolt in a 2000 metre benchmark 80 at Rosehill last weekend.
“I thought it was a terrific effort on Saturday,” Parker said.
“I thought he raced really well and he’s learned a lot this preparation.
“He has come through Saturday’s race as good as gold.”
The Christmas Cup will be their first look at the 2400 metres, Kembla Grange-based horseman Parker convinced they will be well suited to the extra distance.
“He’s always just been a horse that we thought would get better as he got over further,” Parker said.
“He just keeps finding the line and hopefully on Saturday he gets to the right distance and he finds the line again – and finds the line in front this time.”
A good run in the Christmas Cup and Nextanix will continue onto the $125,000 Group 3 Summer Cup (2400m) back at Rosehill on Boxing Day, December 26.
See below for the full 2011 Stowe Australia Pty Ltd Christmas Cup field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2011 Christmas Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Rosehill Race 6 – 10/12/2011
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||010003X005||SOLID BILLING||Craig Ritchie||Jay Ford||7||58kg||96|
|2||5676743X17||STRIKE ONE (GB)||Chris Waller||–||10||58kg||96|
|3||69X738X566||SCOUTING WIDE (NZ)||Tim Martin||Taylor Lovelock-Wiggins (a)||11||56.5kg||93|
|4||84830X8464||COUNT ENCOSTA||John P Thompson||Brenton Avdulla||2||54kg||88|
|5||X37514X962||YULALONA||Peter Snowden||Corey Brown||6||53.5kg||87|
|6||0X61333308||GAZZA GURU||Stephen Farley||Josh Adams (a)||3||53kg||86|
|7||23800X6023||SCOTTISH BORDER||Garry Frazer||Mitchell Bell||9||53kg||86|
|8||3270X15711||SEA GALLEON||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Glyn Schofield||5||53kg||84|
|9||36X0681354||MERENSKY REEF||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||1||53kg||81|
|10||0853817211||ASSERTIVE BILLY||Steve Englebrecht||Shaun Guymer (a)||12||53kg||77|
|11||6X142X1252||NEXTANIX||Kerry Parker||Jeff Penza||8||53kg||75|
|12||764X575844||SHADOW MINISTER||Garry White||Nathan Berry||4||53kg||74|
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