Nominations for the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) were taken on Monday, with 11 stayers set to tackle the mile and a half distance race at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday.
Leading the nominations is the Chris Waller-trained Permit, who returns to defend his winning title. The seven-year-old gelding won last year’s Christmas Cup by just under one length after which he won the Listed Tattersall’s Club Cup (2400m) on January 1.
Permit returned in the autumn but had a disappointing season that saw him finish unplaced in all six of his starts. He managed to finish third in a handicap at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse over 1900m on November 15 before running fifth in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) last time out after weakening out at the finish.
Waller will deliver a dual-pronged attack on the 2014 Christmas Cup after also nominating Saigon Tea. The five-year-old mare has finished in the first three in her last four starts, including winning a Benchmark 85 over 1800m last time out.
Both Peter Moody and John O’Shea are also set to deliver dual-pronged attacks on the race, nominating two runners each.
Moody will be represented by In Masquerade and Metaphorical while O’Shea could saddle both Gallatin and Terai.
Four-year-old mare In Masquerade finished end of the field in the Group 2 Momentum Energy Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 8 before finishing third in the Pro Ride Handicap (2400m) last time out.
Metaphorical has finished in the first three her last three times out, including a fast finishing second placing in the ATC Cup last time out on November 29. The mare was straight to the front from jumping out wide and controlled the tempo of the race. She sprinted at the 300m mark and put a length on her rivals before being grabbed by winner Malice in her last stride to lose by a short head-neck.
Gallatin won the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) back in April but has failed to place in any of his six starts since, including the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m), in which he finished nine and a half lengths off the winner in sixth place.
Terai is a last start winner, scoring the First So You Think Yearlings @ 2015 Sales Plate (2400m) last time out on November 22.
Robert Smerdon’s Spinderbella, who has won half of her 10 career starts, also features among the nominations after an unfortunate late scratching from the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) on November 22.
Check out the full list of 2014 Christmas Cup nominations below before the final field is released on Wednesday.
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2014 Christmas Cup Nominations
|2||IN MASQUERADE (NZ)||Peter G Moody||73|
|3||LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY||Steve Englebrecht||79|
|4||METAPHORICAL||Peter G Moody||95|
|5||PARAGGI (NZ)||Liam Birchley||74|
|6||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||100|
|7||PLANET PURPLE||Kerry Parker||81|
|8||SAIGON TEA (NZ)||Chris Waller||92|
|11||WORLD WIDE||Bede Murray||84|