Aeronautical Leads 2015 Standish Handicap Nominations

Early entries are now out for the New Year’s Day feature at Victoria’s Flemington Racecourse with Group 1 placegetter Aeronautical leading the early Standish Handicap 2015 nominations for Thursday.

Aeronautical

Aeronautical is looking to return to form in Thursday’s Standish Handicap at Flemington: Photo: Steve Hart.

Lionel Cohen’s Encosta De Lago six-year-old is one of 19 early entries taken for this summer’s $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m), the gelding out to improve on two sixth place finishes this time in.

Aeronautical is best known for his brilliant third behind Shamexpress and Moment Of Change in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) over the same track and distance as the Standish back in March last year.

He was beaten only a long neck that day and Cohen believes he is tracking well enough to produce similar form on Thursday, his first run since his sixth behind Our Boy Malachi in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on November 29.

The other headline Standish Handicap nominee for this week’s showdown is Snitzel gelding Amorino debuting for young Ballarat trainer, English expat Archie Alexander.

The five-year-old galloper, originally prepared by Gerald Ryan as a youngster for runs in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (9th) and Golden Rose (7th) in 2012, has spent the past 18 months in Western Australia with Grant Williams.

Under Williams care he returned to form with a number of good black-type victories including the Bunbury Stakes – Grandstand Cup double back in the autumn.

This spring – summer season he was tested in elite level company again when eighth behind Elite Belle in the Group 1 Railway Stakes over the mile at Ascot and was last seen running seventh to Watermans Bay in the Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) on December 6.

Aeronautical carries 58.5kg on Thursday, half a kilo more than Amorino on 58kg, with the Standish Handicap weights led by the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Reparations on 59kg.

Exceed And Excel six-year-old Reparations returns off a two month break, before which he had a one-hit spring campaign to win the Listed MSS Security Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.

A talented sprinter he’s got a 50% strike rate over the 1200m with four wins from eight starts over the distance, and his first-up record (6-2-0-0) is also fair.

The next heaviest weighted nominations on 57.5kg each are then the Robbie Laing-trained Lord Of The Sky and Jarrod McLean’s Blackie.

Promising four-year-old Danrich stallion Lord Of The sky, winner of the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in the winter, comes off a string of good runs for the year.

His most recent effort was at Sandown on Boxing Day when under two lengths away second behind Tried And Tired in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m), an effort his Cranbourne-based trainer hopes he can go one better than this week.

Veteran seven-year-old Blackie meanwhile hasn’t raced since back-to-back fifths at Moonee Valley in August and is back up in class for this first-up assignment.

Other notable Standish Handicap hopefuls for the January 1 event include last start Listed City Of Marion Stakes winner at Morphettville from the start of the month Whitlam over from Adelaide, the Peter Moody-trained Thermal Current, Robbie Griffiths’ Group 2 performer The Quarterback and Laing’s other runner Boomwaa coming off a Moonee Valley win from last Saturday.

See below for the full Standish Handicap 2014 nominations and weights, the field due out shortly.

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2015 Standish Handicap Nominations

Flemington Racecourse – 01/01/2015

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 REPARATIONS Lee & Anthony Freedman 1 59kg 102
2 AERONAUTICAL Lionel Cohen 2 58.5kg 101
3 AMORINO Archie Alexander 3 58kg 100
4 LORD OF THE SKY Robbie Laing 4 57.5kg 99
5 BLACKIE (NZ) Jarrod McLean 5 57.5kg 99
6 WHITLAM Danielle Wilson 6 55.5kg 95
7 OFFICE BEARER Peter G Moody 7 55kg 94
8 SOLSAY Michael Kent 8 54kg 92
9 THE THIEF Stephen Brown 9 54kg 90
10 DECIRCLES Danny O’Brien 10 54kg 90
11 THERMAL CURRENT Peter G Moody 11 54kg 89
12 FUTURE SOLUTION Kane Harris 12 54kg 86
13 THE QUARTERBACK Robbie Griffiths 13 54kg 85
14 MISTER MILTON Norman Waymouth 14 54kg 84
15 MANNOPOLY Symon Wilde 15 54kg 84
16 PETRIFY Amy Johnston 16 54kg 81
17 BOOMWAA Robbie Laing 17 54kg 78
18 SEARCH SQUAD (NZ) Doug Harrison 18 54kg 76
19 SCARLET BILLOWS Darren Weir 19 54kg 73

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