Robert Smerdon’s in-form five-year-old Reldas is top fancy to return to the winners’ stall in Melbourne this Boxing Day with a Caulfield victory in Saturday’s Christmas Stakes 2015.
One of two black-type races on the card, this year’s $120,000 Listed The Cup Club Christmas Stakes (1200m) features a final field of 15 sprinters.
The current Christmas Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, at $4.80 is Testa Rossa gelding Reldas coming off a fifth to Wind Rain in Sandown’s Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) from three weeks back.
He ran top three in his other three runs this time in and goes up to a more suitable distance this weekend that he has a good record of three wins, a second and three thirds over from nine runs.
Nicholas Hall is booked for the stakes ride on the weekend and while the bookies are taking no chances, Reldas needs to be at his best to overcome a wide gate 13 draw.
Second favourite in Christmas Stakes betting at Caulfield paying $6 is the Peter Moody-trained Office Bearer drawn better in gate five for jockey Linda Meech.
The Officer stallion is third-up after a first-up third at Flemington during the Cup Carnival behind The Quarterback in black-type company and his second in the Doveton Stakes from December 5.
He drops two kilograms to 56.5kg off his last run, but is yet to finish in the money from three previous runs at the track.
The other two single figure fancies for the win are Tuscan Sling ($6.50) out wide in barrier 14 and Written Up ($8.50) jumping from nine with Craig Newitt in the saddle.
Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir prepares Danehill Dancer mare Tuscan Sling, the five-year-old coming off a close third in a blanket finish at Moonee Valley over 955m from December 11.
She is racing over 1200m for the first time, the short-distanced specialist’s longest distanced win to date being just 1000m.
Written Up meanwhile comes off winning form, George Osborne’s Kyneton-trained gelding having saluted over the distance in a Benchmark 90 at Moonee Valley in late November.
Other notable hopes at more generous odds include the rails-drawn General Groove ($13), Nicoscene ($13) and Taddei Tondo ($13).
The Leon & Troy Corstens-trained General Nediym six-year-old General Groove is second-up on the weekend after a fourth to fellow Christmas Stakes hope Written Cup at the Valley last month, while Nicconi four-year-old Nicoscene is out to atone for a Flemington ninth from December 12.
Lee & Anthony Freedman’s stallion Nicoscene has won four of his 11 runs over the distance and is after his first victory since taking out Adelaide’s Group 2 Euclase Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville back in May.
See below for the full Christmas Stakes 2015 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and current fixed win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au who are matching the first deposits of new customers 100% up to $500 for a short time only!