Chris Waller’s former Mornington Cup winning import Instrumentalist shoots for his first win in over a year leading the field and weights for Saturday’s Christmas Cup 2015 at Randwick Racecourse.
Set to run as Villiers Stakes Day Race 5 at 3:05pm (AEST), this summer’s $100,000 Listed Avijohn Contracting Christmas Cup (2400m) features a final field of a dozen stayers.
At the top of the line-up carrying the 59kg top weight is seven-year-old Instrumentalist who shoots for his fourth win from six starts over the mile and a half.
He hasn’t been first past the post since the 2014 Mornington Cup over the 2400m back in February last year and needs to improve third-up here after three straight last place efforts.
The last was behind stablemate Telepathic, who runs in the $250,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on Saturday, when seventh in the ATC Cup.
He was beaten 12 lengths that day but should improve getting out over more metres for the Christmas Cup where Waller also saddles-up Vilanova (56kg) and Quick Strike (54kg) drawn in barriers 12 and seven respectively.
With the outside alley to overcome, Commands five-year-old Vilanova has time to get across on the back off two nice thirds at Rosehill in November including being beaten under two lengths in the ATC Cup.
He has winning form up to 2200m and has his second run over 2400m this weekend having last seen the distance as a three-year-old in June last year when third to Sonntag in the Group 1 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm in Brisbane.
Quick Strike also ran third in the lead-up to the Christmas Cup, the in-form High Chaparral four-year-old having won over 1900m at Canterbury before his third to Jiayuguan over the 2400m at Rosehill carrying 61kg on November 21.
Up in class for the Christmas Cup, Quick Strike will relish the drop back to the minimum weight carrying seven kilos less than last start with Jason Collett taking over in the saddle.
John Thompson’s Kiwi Handicap winner Jiayuguan beat Quick Strike home by 1.6 lengths last start over the same distance as the rematch this weekend, the Teofilo mare a 2400m specialist with three wins from four starts.
She shoots for her third on the trot this weekend with her other most recent victory being over the mile and a half at Randwick on November 3.
Carrying 58kg she had 58.5kg on her back in the Kiwi Handicap and is better weighted this weekend with just 54kg from a wide gate 11 draw.
Following Instrumentalist in the Christmas Cup weights with 57.5kg is the David Vandyke-trained Sir John Hawkwood in gate five with Blake Spriggs retaining the ride.
Runner-up to Tremec in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick in early April the Sir Percy seven-year-old was last seen running second to Bring Luck in the November Topaz (1900m), the same race Vilanova ran third in.
Along with Jiayuguan the other last start winner in Saturday’s showdown is the Ben Ahrens-trained Chillin With Dylan who has won three of his past four starts.
Jumping from barrier nine with Ryan Wiggins staying on the Beaudesert-based four-year-old, Chillin With Dylan debuts at the track on the back of a strong 2.3 length win over 2200m at Doomben a fortnight ago.
See below for the full Christmas Cup 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights then visit our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au where first time depositing players only need to quote the code BETBONUS to enjoy up to $500 in bonus bets for a short time only!
2015 Christmas Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 5 (3:05pm) – 12/12/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1411x00x87||INSTRUMENTALIST (IRE)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||8||59kg||95|
|2||x016276x42||SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (IRE)||David Vandyke||Blake Spriggs||5||57.5kg||92|
|3||x0760x7733||VILANOVA (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||12||56kg||89|
|4||31229×6752||LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY||Tony McEvoy||Kerrin McEvoy||3||55kg||87|
|5||20×0401611||JIAYUGUAN (IRE)||John P Thompson||Sam Clipperton||11||54kg||84|
|6||5708×44213||QUICK STRIKE||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||7||54kg||81|
|7||3440×51151||CHILLIN WITH DYLAN||Ben Ahrens||Ryan Wiggins||9||54kg||80|
|8||x8946x9750||PLANET PURPLE||Kerry Parker||Tim Clark||4||54kg||76|
|9||14233×3615||BRING LUCK||Amanda Turner & Mauro Poletti||Peter Wells||1||54kg||72|
|10||7064×68604||MAJOR MAJOR||Jim Litt||Dwayne Dunn||10||54kg||68|
|11||x52135x307||PLATINUM JACK||Scott Singleton||Ms Kathy O’Hara||2||54kg||65|
|12||16×1576343||ZATOPAZ (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Christian Reith||6||54kg||65|