2011 Christmas Stakes Nominations

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.

Orbit Express

Orbit Express is one of the top-rated 2011 Christmas Stakes entries

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

# Horse Trainer Hcp. Rating
1 ALPHA PROXIMA Leon Corstens 89
2 AVIONICS Robbie Griffiths 88
3 BONDARCHUK (NZ) John Sadler 92
4 CASCABEL Robbie Griffiths 90
5 CELLARMASTER (NZ) Patrick Payne 82
6 DANZYLUM Robbie Griffiths 99
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
11 JEUNEYMAN Ryan Hooper 90
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
17 PERIDUKI Todd Balfour 103
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
22 SHEKINAAR David Jolly 98
23 SHOUT OUT LOUD Peter G Moody 98
24 SNAPPARAZI Barbara Marshman 82
25 THAT’S NOT IT Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra 82
26 TRANSLATION Russell Cameron 85
27 UNDER THE HAT John Sadler 82
28 ZEDI KNIGHT Brendan McCarthy 100