The Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) is one of four Group races running at Royal Randwick Racecourse this Saturday, marking the official commencement of the autumn racing carnival.
14 sprinters were nominated for the race on Monday morning, which have been extended until 11:00am Tuesday for any potential late entries.
More than half of the field has a handicap rating of over 100, which means the 2015 Southern Cross Stakes will be a hotly contested race.
Headlining the field is the Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar, who has not been seen on the track in close to two years. The gelding suffered a leg injury in his winning Group 1 The BMW (2400m) run back in April 2013 and two separate, subsequent injuries have kept him on the sidelines for the past 22 months.
There’s no denying Fiveandahalfstar’s success, finishing runner-up in two additional Group One races as well as winning the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) back in 2012, so racing fans will be keen to see possible return to the track come Saturday.
Cummings could deliver a three-pronged attack on the Southern Cross Stakes after also nominating Fontelina and Spy Decoder for the $150,000 race.
Six-year-old Fontelina managed to turn a disappointing second last finish in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) last March around just two weeks later, finishing a very close second to Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
Joseph Pride has also nominated a trio of his stable’s horses for the Southern Cross Stakes while Chris Waller, in typical fashion, leads the charge with four potential runners to his name.
Pride’s trio consists of Listed Wyong Cup (2100m) runner-up Canny Ballad, Chintz, and Destiny’s Kiss while Waller has nominated Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) runner-up Bull Point, Calming Influence, Heart Testa, and Opinion.
Five-year-old Heart Testa is breaking the mold by not resuming on Saturday. The gelding ran straight through the spring and summer but has finished outside the placings more often than not.
Opinion will take a massive step down in distance after the gelding was last seen running in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 4, finishing midfield in 11th.
Gai Waterhouse’s Driefontein is another horse not resuming in Saturday’s race. The five-year-old mare is in need of a rest after running straight through the spring and summer but she’s still in form and ready to race after finishing runner-up in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at the end of last month, as will third placegetter in the race Territory.
Check out the complete list of 2015 Southern Cross Stakes nominations below.
Betting markets will open for the race at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly so make sure your account balance is at its peak. New customers will receive a bonus match worth $250 on their first bet, which would help you bet better.
2015 Southern Cross Stakes Nominations
|1||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||100|
|2||CALMING INFLUENCE||Chris Waller||92|
|3||CANNY BALLAD||Joseph Pride||92|
|4||CHINTZ (NZ)||Joseph Pride||96|
|5||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||102|
|9||HAPPY GALAXY||Gary Moore||92|
|10||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||100|
|11||HOT SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||106|
|12||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||104|
|13||SPY DECODER (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||80|