The Boxing Day Races around Australia provide punters and racing fans with plenty of post-Christmas entertainment, one of the black type highlights being the 2011 Christmas Handicap at Adelaide’s Morphettville Racecourse.
Scheduled to run as Morphettville Race 7 at 4:17pm (local time) on Monday, the $80,000 Listed Christmas Handicap (1400m) has this year drawn a final field of 12 hopefuls.
Three horses have been installed as the 57kg equal top-weights of the field with Outlandish Lad, Shekinaar and The Eighth Maker.
Twelve months ago Dennis O’Leary’s Fantastic Light grey Outlandish Lad finished second in the Christmas Handicap behind the Stuart Gower-trained Blahnik, and they return for a second shot at the Boxing Day feature this year.
Drawn well in barrier five with Jason Holder engaged for the ride, with 57kg Outlandish Lad carries two kilos more than they did last year but they come into the race on the back of a close second beaten just a quarter length in the Listed City Of Marion Stakes (1200m) on December 10.
The David Jolly-trained Shekinaar has also come up trumps with a nice gate for the Christmas Handicap on Monday, the six-year-old Foxhound mare to jump from barrier three as she looks to improve on her sixth in the Marion Stakes and return to the winner’s stall for the second time this season.
Meanwhile, City Of Marion Stakes winner The Eighth Maker is likely to start at the top of the 2011 Christmas Handicap odds when markets open at Luxbet.
Due to jump from barrier nine with Shayne Cahill aboard, the Clangalang six-year-old has won four of their five starts this season, including their last three on the trot.
They rise considerably from 54.5kg for the Marion Stakes to 57kg on Monday, but having proved themselves time and time again connections are confident that they can overcome the weight.
There are two other last-start winner engaged in the Christmas Handicap this year with another Jolly-trained hopeful Zizz out wide in barrier 11 and Windarra Place who is set to have the inside run from barrier one.
Hurricane Sky gelding Zizz is also the only other hopeful allocated more than the 54.5kg minimum, the six-year-old to cart 56kg as they back up from a smart two length win over 1400 metres at Morphttville Parks back on December 3.
Windarra Place, prepared by Terry and Karina O’Sullivan, was impressive with 58kg last start when finishing strongly to win over 1400 metres on November 5.
Other notable Christmas Handicap contenders include the Richard Jolly-trained Barwon Express (barrier four) who ran second to The Eight Maker last-start in the Grand Chifley Hotel Handicap on November 26, Mark Kavanagh’s Easy Rocking five-year-old Bagman (barrier eight), the Mick Price-trained Victorian mare Tariana (barrier seven) and Gary Searle’s consistent galloper Mornin’ Sam looking for their fourth win from five starts this prep.
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2011 Christmas Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Morphettville Race 7 – 26/12/2011
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||4253X81502||OUTLANDISH LAD||Dennis O’Leary||Jason Holder||5||57kg||96|
|2||448X454X16||SHEKINAAR||David Jolly||Justin Potter||3||57kg||101|
|3||9137X13111||THE EIGHTH MAKER||Lloyd Kennewell||Shayne Cahill||9||57kg||96|
|4||211X537231||ZIZZ||David Jolly||Matthew Neilson||11||56kg||94|
|5||519436X701||WINDARRA PLACE||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Ms Holly McKechnie||1||54.5kg||92|
|6||0858X49342||BARWON EXPRESS||Richard Jolly||Todd Pannell||4||54.5kg||86|
|7||23X3183X25||BLACKBRIAR||Melinda Boothby||Nathan Rose (a)||2||54.5kg||86|
|8||20X013106X||BLUE MAGGICH (NZ)||John Hyam||Troy Baker||12||54.5kg||85|
|9||X11111X602||BAGMAN||Mark Kavanagh||Simon Price||8||54.5kg||84|
|10||511X1113||MORNIN’ SAM||Gary Searle||Adrian Patterson||6||54.5kg||83|
|11||22550X3227||ALWAYS DISCREET||Michael Hickmott||Ms Libby Hopwood||10||54.5kg||79|
|12||1X150X1362||TARIANA||Mick Price||Ms Clare Lindop||7||54.5kg||76|