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Joe Pride’s former champion News Alert has been allocated the topweight of the 10 Canterbury Classic 2012 entries, the seven-year-old to carry 60kg should they accept for this Friday night’s showdown.
Last seen holding on in a photo-finish victory over Rarefied in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm on December 17, Danehill Dancer seven-year-old News Alert is looking to win the $100,000 Listed Canterbury BMW Classic (1100m) for a second time having saluted in the feature two years ago when under the preparation of Con Karakatsanis.
The multiple Group performer won the Canterbury Classic in 2010 with 56kg, rising four kilos to their weight allocation in the race this year.
“The 1100 metres will tell me a bit more about News Alert,” Pride said.
“He’s coming back in distance and we will find out how he freshens up.”
Pride has dual Canterbury Classic entries this year having also nominated his five-year-old Country Reel mare Phenomenal Lass (54kg) who he rates as a sneaky chance in the race.
“Phenomenal Lass looks good and this race is around her grade,” he said.
“I expect her to run a cheeky race.”
Following News Alert in the 2012 Canterbury Classic weights is then Tracey Bartley’s triple Group 1 hero Sniper’s Bullet with 59kg.
The eight-year-old Bite The Bullet gelding hasn’t raced at Canterbury since their third to Mentality in the Group 2 Canterbury Stakes (1550m) back in April of 2008, Sniper’s Bullet also without a win to their name since their elite level double at Ascot for the Railway Stakes – Kingston Town Classic victories of 2009.
The only other runner allocated above the 54kg minimum is then Gary Portelli’s well-tried Hussonet seven-year-old Gold Trail with 57.5kg.
Notable hopefuls with 54kg include the Lionel Cohen-trained Encosta De Lago three-year-old Aeronautical and Jan Bowen’s Muswellbrook galloper Jest Crewsin’.
The Brahms six-year-old comes off a credible second beaten a length and a quarter by Rain Affair when defending their title in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on January 2, before which they finished seventh to News Alert in the Razor Sharp.
“I was really pleased with him and the way he went behind a horse who could be a champion,” Bowen said of Jest Crewsin’s game loss to Rain Affair last start.
“He will run on Friday and Peter Robl sticks with him which is a good thing.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get a rider who can stay with a horse but Peter is getting to know him now.
“He rode him the right way which is up closer; if he gets back then he can get stuck back there.
“I think he’s up to this class.
“There are no easy races for him anymore because he is a rating 93 now but he has earned it.
“He looks a million dollars and is racing as well as he ever has.”
The 2012 Canterbury BMW Classic field and barrier draw will be released on Wednesday.
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2012 Canterbury BMW Classic Weights & Ballot
|1||NEWS ALERT||Joseph Pride||1||60kg||105|
|2||SNIPER’S BULLET||Tracey Bartley||2||59kg||103|
|3||GOLD TRAIL||Gary Portelli||3||57.5kg||100|
|5||EIGHT BILLS||Gary Portelli||6||54kg||89|
|6||JEST CREWSIN’||Jan Bowen||4||54kg||93|
|7||MRS ONASSIS||Gerald Ryan||8=||54kg||81|
|8||PHENOMENAL LASS||Joseph Pride||5||54kg||90|
|9||STRATFORD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||8=||54kg||81|
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