Nine sprinters have accepted for the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m), which is running at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday.
Headlining the field is the Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar, who is set to have his first run in just under two years.
The five-year-old gelding enjoyed a successful autumn campaign back in 2013, finishing runner-up in his first four starts including the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), before emerging victorious in the Group 1 BMW (2400m), winning a head clear of Silent Achiever.
However the gelding suffered a leg injury during the race which was then followed by two separate, subsequent, injuries. As such he hasn’t raced in 22 months.
Fiveandahalfstar will carry the top weight of 60.5kg in the Southern Cross Stakes, which is a big increase from the 54.5kg he won The BMW with. The gelding will jump from barrier three with Joshua Parr as jockey.
Both Joseph Pride and Chris Waller have doubled their chances of winning the 2015 Southern Cross Stakes after accepting with two horses each.
Pride will saddle six-year-old gelding Destiny’s Kiss and Listed Wyong Cup (2100m) runner-up Canny Ballad, who will jump from neighbouring gates (eight and nine), while Waller will saddle Bull Point and Heart Testa.
Four-year-old Bull Point enjoyed placings in the Group 2 Theo Mark Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m), and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) during the spring but was unplaced in his two Group One starts. The horse will enjoy a jump from barrier two with James McDonald as jockey.
Heart Testa is one of four fit horses not resuming in the Southern Cross Stakes, having had three starts during the summer. The gelding will jump from barrier seven with Jason Collett to ride.
Gerald Ryan’s Hot Snitzel will enjoy the inside jump from barrier one with Kerrin McEvoy to ride. The six-year-old gelding will carry the second top weight of 58kg after running in numerous Group One races over the past few years.
Hot Snitzel has not been seen since last May, when he travelled to Brisbane for the Winter Carnival. The gelding failed to place in any of his three runs, including the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
Other 2015 Southern Cross Stakes runners include Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) runner-ups Driefontein and Territory, and the Gary Moore-trained Happy Galaxy.
Check out the complete field and barrier draw for the race below. Betting markets will open at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly, open your betting account to receive a $250 bonus match on your first bet. Just quote code: BETBONUS.
2015 Southern Cross Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||111x22221x||FIVEANDAHALFSTAR||Anthony Cummings||Joshua Parr||3||60.5kg||111|
|2||902x21689x||HOT SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||1||58kg||106|
|3||720×620642||DRIEFONTEIN||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||4||56.5kg||107|
|4||515215565x||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||8||56kg||102|
|5||07x323620x||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||James McDonald||2||55kg||100|
|6||26×7831046||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||7||55kg||100|
|7||5734177×33||TERRITORY||Jarrod Austin||Sam Clipperton||6||54kg||98|
|8||21x700295x||CANNY BALLAD||Joseph Pride||Christian Reith||9||54kg||92|
|9||x093x0x928||HAPPY GALAXY||Gary Moore||Jim Cassidy||5||54kg||92|