Mick Huxtable’s in-form Murray Bridge-based gelding Lord Aspen is the likely favourite on Boxing Day in Adelaide to take out Morphettville’s Christmas Handicap 2015.
Due to jump as Race 8 at 5:03pm (local time), this year’s $100,000 Listed Adelaide Galvanising Christmas Handicap (1200m) has attracted 14 sprinters led in betting by Good Journey four-year-old Lord Aspen.
A winner of six of his nine career starts to date the super consistent galloper comes off a victory in the Listed City Of Marion Stakes at the track and distance from December 5 where he overcame barrier 15 of 15.
Lord Aspen is now undefeated over 1200m at Morphettville with a three-from-three record heading into the Christmas Handicap where he shoots for a black-type double.
Group 2 performed when fifth in last year’s Sandown Guineas, he is also a stakes placegetter at Flemington this spring and the one to beat according to the Christmas Handicap odds for Saturday.
Heading the Christmas Handicap weights this year with 5kg is the Paul Beshara-trained Richie’s Vibe who Jamie Kah rides from gate eight.
The Danerich six-year-old hasn’t won a race since Moonee Valley’s Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) back in January last year and is looking to atone for a string of unplaced Melbourne runs this campaign.
He returns home to Adelaide however for the first time since a third in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) in August and is tipped to enjoy getting back to a track he boasts two wins at from five starts.
The next highest weighted are the Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained Essay Raider and the Danielle Wilson-trained Whitlam both with 57.5kg and drawn beside each other in barriers five and six respectively.
Drawn wide in gate 11 but in flying form is the Richard Jolly-trained Karacatis who apprentice Caitlin Jones stays aboard third-up on the weekend.
The seven-year-old Hussonet gelding won over 1000m at Morphettville Parks in November before a third in the City Of Marion Stakes when beaten only 1.4 lengths carrying 58kg.
He drops a kilo to 57kg this weekend and has a good record over 1200m at the track despite not having posted a win with three seconds and four thirds from nine runs.
Local horseman Jolly has also accepted for Enduro in the outside alley, the Savabeel six-year-old shooting for three straight wins over the track and distance having taken out a Class 2 on November 7 and a Benchmark 82 later that month.
While he is drawn wide and up notably in class, Enduro’s record at Morphettville (9-2-2-1) and over 1200m (5-2-3-0) makes him hard to go past for a place at really juicy odds.
Drawn the opposite end of the field with the rails run from barrier one is the Lloyd Kennewell-trained Silent Whisper with WA-based hoop Chris Parnham over for the ride on the four-year-old.
Other notable hopes include 50-start veteran Hank’s Nephew coming off a fourth in the City Of Marion Stakes and David Jolly’s six-year-old Streetcar Valour coming off a string of second place efforts.
See below for the full Christmas Handicap 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2015 Christmas Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Morphettville Race 8 (5:03pm) – 26/12/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||555×340497||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||Ms Jamie Kah||8||59kg||98|
|2||504x4177x9||ESSAY RAIDER||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Clare Lindop||5||57.5kg||95|
|3||196×120570||WHITLAM||Danielle Wilson||Shayne Cahill||6||57.5kg||95|
|4||4922964×13||KARACATIS||Richard Jolly||Caitlin Jones (a)||11||57kg||94|
|5||2622750825||JUSTIFY THAT||Peter Moody||Josh Cartwright (a)||13||55.5kg||91|
|6||x1115x1341||LORD ASPEN||Mick Huxtable||Matthew Neilson||10||55kg||90|
|7||18x8x1255x||SANDHILL FLASH||Sam Turner||Jeffrey Maund||3||54kg||88|
|8||39207×3868||VATICAN||Byron Cozamanis||Zac Spain (a)||2||54kg||88|
|9||35×8267114||HANK’S NEPHEW||Shylie Williams||Jason Holder||4||54kg||87|
|10||3229×27086||BRIMARVI PRINCE||Paul Seater||Ms Emily Finnegan (a)||12||54kg||84|
|11||1x36000x57||SILENT WHISPER||Lloyd Kennewell||Chris Parnham||1||54kg||77|
|12||0446251222||STREETCAR VALOUR||David Jolly||TBA||9||54kg||77|
|13||318x223x11||ENDURO (NZ)||Richard Jolly||Jake Toeroek||14||54kg||74|
|14||44113×4384||READY SUNSHINE||Ryan Balfour||Todd Pannell||7||54kg||72|