This Friday night Canterbury will host its latest night racing meeting featuring the Canterbury Classic 2012, the final field and barrier draw for which has now been released.
Scheduled to run as Canterbury Race 5 at 9:00pm (NSW time), the $100,000 Listed Canterbury BMW Classic (1100m) has this year drawn eight acceptors.
Topping the weights is the Joseph Pride-trained News Alert.
The veteran seven-year-old comes off a December 17 win in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm.
News Alert goes up from 57.5kg that run to a hefty 60kg for the Canterbury Classic and will need a lot of luck if they are to win their second on the trot as they give plenty of weight to a quality field.
The only other galloper accepted for the showdown above the 54kg minimum is Queensland raider Sniper’s Bullet, Tracey Bartley’s three-time Group 1 winner out to break a winning drought that has spanned over two years.
Horses considered to be genuine chances in the 2012 Canterbury Classic field likely to open at the top of the Luxbet markets when betting on the Friday night feature open include the Jan Bowen’s Muswellbrook galloper Jest Crewsin’ coming off an eye-catching second to Rain Affair in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on January 2, the Gerald Ryan-trained General Nediym mare Mrs Onassis out in the far outside gate eight but seeking her fifth win in six starts and Matthew Dale’s Not A Single Doubt four-year-old Unanimously.
Unanimously was last seen finishing just over a half-length away third to winner Tiger Tees, and just a nose behind runner-up Dystopia who carried a full kilo less, in the Vinery Stud Handicap (1100m) on a Slow (7) Canterbury track back on December 24, and come into the Canterbury Classic as the fresh horse.
“He’s come through it good and the three weeks between runs suits,” the Canberra-based Dale said.
Dale is hopeful that from their favourable barrier four draw with Tommy Berry aboard Unanimously can return to form and score their first turf triumph since May last year.
“It’s obviously a hard race, it’s a feature race, but he’s going well,” Dale said.
That victory, the fifth of the horse’s career, came at the Canterbury track where they have good form at.
“His form’s really good, I just though his effort the other day was good where he seemed to attack to the lead, he did it hard from the front and his last 50 (meters) was strong,” Dale said of Unanimously at the course on Christmas Eve.
Adding even more merit to the Vinery Stud form was that runner-up Dystopia backed up at Warwick Farm last Monday to put an easy two and a half lengths on their last-start conqueror Tiger Tees in winning over 1300 metres on a Good (3) track.
“Dystopia’s come out and won since,” Dale pointed out.
Another underrated sprinter seeking the Canterbury Classic win this Friday night is the Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained Stratford who has drawn the inside alley.
A winner at the Magic Millions Race Day on the Gold Coast 12 months ago, Stratum four-year-old Stratford resumes after a four month spell last seen running a close fourth to Tiger Tees at Rosehill in early September.
“There are some nice horses in the race so it will give everyone a very good idea of where he’s at,” regular rider Rod Quinn said of Stratford, who goes to stakes company for the first time in the Canterbury Classic.
“He’s probably racing a bit above his grade at the moment but he is a nice horse on the way up.
“He’s drawn a nice barrier and he’s right in the race.”
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2012 Canterbury BMW Classic Field & Barrier Draw
Canterbury Race 5 – 13/01/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||X795240X51||NEWS ALERT||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||6||60kg||105|
|2||80X850505X||SNIPER’S BULLET||Tracey Bartley||Christian Reith||7||59kg||103|
|3||513255X672||JEST CREWSIN’||Jan Bowen||Peter Robl||5||54kg||93|
|4||44X414265X||PHENOMENAL LASS||Joseph Pride||Glyn Schofield||3||54kg||90|
|5||05X4300714||EIGHT BILLS||Gary Portelli||Chad Schofield (a)||2||54kg||89|
|6||X128223X43||UNANIMOUSLY||Matthew Dale||Tommy Berry||4||54kg||87|
|7||X347X11811||MRS ONASSIS||Gerald Ryan||Jay Ford||8||54kg||81|
|8||271X1124X||STRATFORD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Rod Quinn||1||54kg||81|