John Thompson’s mile and a half specialist Jiayuguan is favourite to continue her ace 2400m record when she lines-up over the distance at Randwick Racecourse in the Christmas Cup 2015 this Saturday.
Eleven stayers are left to do battle in the $100,000 Listed Avijohn Contracting Christmas Cup (2400m) on Villiers Stakes Day this weekend after the early scratching of the Ben Ahrens-trained Queenslander Chillin With Dylan.
Leading the latest Christmas Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, where punters can enjoy Best Tote or SP + 20% on the Group 2 Villiers Stakes on Saturday, is local Teofilo mare Jiayuguan.
The five-year-old is in flying form having won three of her past four starts all over the 2400m to take her record to three wins from four starts over the distance she sees again on Saturday.
Two back she saluted at Randwick carrying 58kg before carting 58.5kg for a win in a Rosehill BM81 with 58.5kg on her back.
Paying $3.40 to get the job done again in tougher class this weekend, she drops in weight to the 54kg minimum with Sam Clipperton in the saddle and has time to overcome her wide barrier 10 draw.
Close second favourite in Christmas Cup betting at $4.20 is the better drawn Sir John Hawkwood in gate five carrying 57.5kg.
Prepared at Warwick Farm by David Vandyke the Sir Percy seven-year-old has won one of his three previous 2400m starts and comes off a second to Bring Luck in the November Topaz (1900m) run in the wet at Rosehill on November 14.
The import shoots for his first win since success at Flemington over 2000m in February and has good staying form at Randwick having run second to Tremec back in April in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m).
The other hopes under $10 in the markets are the Chris Waller-trained Vilanova ($6), market mover Quick Strike ($6.50) also from the star Sydney stables of Waller and Lucky Lucky Lucky ($8).
Vilanova comes off back-to-back thirds firstly in the November Topaz and then behind stablemate Telepathic, a top hope in the Villiers Stakes over a mile on Saturday, in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) a fortnight back.
The Commands gelding was beaten under two lengths that day and has winning form up to 2200m but goes up from 54.5kg to 56kg and the outside barrier to overcome with James McDonald taking over in the saddle.
Quick Strike is better weighted for the Christmas Cup getting in on the 54kg minimum and gets a run from a midfield barrier seven draw with Jason Collett aboard.
The progressive High Chaparral four-year-old won over 1900m at Canterbury two back and caught the eye with a much heavier 61kg weight allocation on November 21 when third, only 1.6 lengths off this weekend’s top fancy Jiayuguan last time out.
Lucky Lucky Lucky is drawn a treat in barrier three and was runner-up in the ATC Cup, form the bookies are rating to stack up on the weekend.
At juicer double figure odds are the likes of the rails-drawn November Topaz winning Sebring four-year-old Bring Luck ($10) coming off an ATC Cup fifth and the Bjorn Baker-trained son of Zabeel Zatopaz ($17).
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