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This coming Monday is Boxing Day, and one way to enjoy the spirit of the season is to get in on some of the elite racing action happening around the country including Caulfield’s Christmas Stakes 2011.
The $100,000 Christmas Stakes (1200m) has this year attracted a bumper number of nominations with 28 hopefuls making up the early entries for the Sydney Boxing Day feature.
The top-rated of these is defending champion Grand Duels, Byron Cozamanis’ veteran eight-year-old last seen finishing three lengths away eighth to Canali in the Victoria Cup (1100m) at Caulfield on December 3.
“I took the blinkers off him to stop him from over-racing but he wouldn’t even go early then,” Cozamanis said, explaining his disappointment over the galloper’s last-start effort.
It has been a long time between drinks for the $800,000 earner, Grand Duels last seen in the winner’s stall back in January when taking out the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
That win came directly after their 2010 Christmas Stakes success when the son of Marechal nosed out Miss Octopussy for the win in a photo finish.
Cozamanis is yet to make a definite decision on whether Grand Duels will be there to defend his Christmas Stakes title, a high white blood cell count discovered after the Victoria Cup to be monitored ahead of Monday’s showdown.
“At this stage he’s okay as the white cell count had dropped a fair bit and he’ll be running next Monday,” Cozamanis said.
“But we’ve got to have a couple more bloods done on him this week just to make sure.
“He’s a horse who has always been on the borderline.
“It (his white cell count) always goes up too quick like he’s got a virus in his lung.
“But he seems bright enough at the moment.”
Other highly-rated Christmas Stakes 2011 nominees include veteran eight-year-old Orbit Express, dual stakes winner Zedi Knight and the David Jolly-trained Foxhound mare Shekinaar.
Meanwhile leading Victorian trainer Peter Moody has nominated two from his stables with the former Kerry Petrick-trained Shout Out Loud who makes their new-trainer debut and consistent Commands five-year-old Mr Make Believe.
Other premier trainers represented in the Christmas Stakes entries this year include John Sadler with Bondarchuk and Under The Hat, Peter Snowden with unbeaten Ad Valorem three-year-old Pied A Terre out for their third win from as many starts and Robbie Griffiths with his trio Avionics, Cascabel and Danzylum.
The capacity 16-starter plus four emergencies 2011 Christmas Stakes field of acceptances is due to be released on Thursday with betting to open shortly after at our No. 1 online bookmaker Luxbet.
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2011 Christmas Stakes Nominations
Caulfield – 26/12/2011
|1||ALPHA PROXIMA||Leon Corstens||89|
|3||BONDARCHUK (NZ)||John Sadler||92|
|5||CELLARMASTER (NZ)||Patrick Payne||82|
|7||EUPHORIC REALM||Jason Petch||86|
|8||GOING SPENDING||Andrew Noblet||82|
|9||GRAND DUELS||Byron Cozamanis||101|
|10||GURU BOB (NZ)||Lee & Shannon Hope||81|
|12||MANNOPOLY||Bill & Symon Wilde||72|
|13||MISS MATARI||Kevin Milham||77|
|14||MOSSADINA||Bill & Symon Wilde||75|
|15||MR MAKE BELIEVE||Peter G Moody||98|
|16||ORBIT EXPRESS||Steve McKinnon||100|
|18||PIED A TERRE||Peter Snowden||78|
|19||PRODUCED (NZ)||Daryl Archard||82|
|20||RECOUP DE FORTUNE||Stephen Brown||81|
|21||SECOND EFFORT||Clinton McDonald||94|
|23||SHOUT OUT LOUD||Peter G Moody||98|
|25||THAT’S NOT IT||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||82|
|27||UNDER THE HAT||John Sadler||82|
|28||ZEDI KNIGHT||Brendan McCarthy||100|
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