Racing action on New Year’s Day this Friday, January 1, is headlined by the Standish Handicap 2016 at Flemington Racecourse where Churchill Dancer is allocated equal top weight of the nominations taken.
A total of 15 early entries are in the mix for this summer’s $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Churchill Dancer heading the nominations and weights for the sprint showdown.
The five-year-old gelding hasn’t won a race since the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) over the same track and distance as Friday’s feature, but was beaten only 1.3 lengths in his last two runs including over the 1200m at Flemington again when fourth to Durendal on December 12.
He is four-from-nine over the track and distance, but will need to be at his best with the 59kg and no claim for apprentice jockeys in the Standish.
Also on 59kg if accepted into the Standish Handicap field is the Robbie Griffiths-trained It Is Written, the seven-year-old returning off a short let-up with his last run being a fifth to Reldas over 1200m at Moonee Valley on October 23.
The horse that won the race Churchill Dancer was last seen running in, the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Durendal meanwhile is also in the mix this Friday.
An in-form Medaglia D’Oro four-year-old, Durendal chases his third win on the trot having won at Flemington last time out on the back of a 1400m Ballarat win in November.
He rises notable in class this weekend and is also up in the weights from 54.5kg to 55.5kg over the long weekend.
The only other last start winner nominated for the Standish Handicap is the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Del Prado who won over 1300m at Sandown-Hillside first-up on December 5.
The Corstens have also nominated for Tried And Tired and General Groove.
Niello six-year-old Tried And Tired is second-up on the weekend with a 50% second-up strike rate to date.
He comes off a nice returning run at Sandown at the start of December when third to Wild Rain in the Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) and will appreciate the extra 200m in the Standish if accepted having won three from six of the distance to date.
General Groove meanwhile ran on Boxing Day at Caulfield and finished just over two lengths away fifth to Tuscan Sling in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) in a nice run as a 15/1 chance.
Other notable Standish Handicap nominees include runner-up to Durendal last time out the John O’Shea-trained Lonhro four-year-old Sarajevo and the defending Danny O’Brien-trained winner Decircles.
Stay tuned for the full Standish Handicap 2016 field and barriers out later in the week.
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2016 Standish Handicap Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 01/01/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||41×2115754||CHURCHILL DANCER||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||1||59kg||100|
|2||7490x9835x||IT IS WRITTEN||G||7||Robbie Griffiths||2||59kg||100|
|3||3x464029x3||TRIED AND TIRED||G||6||Leon & Troy Corstens||3||57kg||96|
|5||9113×81511||DURENDAL||G||4||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||5||55.5kg||93|
|6||98x348x327||OFFICE BEARER||H||6||Peter G Moody||6||55.5kg||93|
|9||01081416×1||DEL PRADO||G||5||Leon & Troy Corstens||9||54kg||89|
|10||1126x80x45||GENERAL GROOVE||G||6||Leon & Troy Corstens||10||54kg||89|
|12||175218157x||NOELA’S CHOICE||M||5||Peter G Moody||12||54kg||83|
|13||x1197x1508||VILLOPOTO||G||5||Paul A Jones||13||54kg||80|