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The Christmas Stakes 2016 is one of two black-type Boxing Day races running at Caulfield Racecourse on Monday and nominations for the handicap sprint are now out.
A total of 17 sprinters are entered for a shot at this summer’s $120,000 Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne including the in-form Lindsay Park-trained Grande Rosso.
The five-year-old son of Written Tycoon enjoyed a Pakenham win over 1400m on December 3 and drops back to 1200m for the first time since late August if accepted into the Christmas Stakes field.
He is yet to win at the distance or over less than 1400m, but has been racing well this season.
Also coming off a Pakenham win at the same meeting and nominated for the Christmas Stakes next week is the Cindy Alderson-trained Bel Esprit six-year-old Smart Dart who is a seven-time winner at the 1200m.
Higher up the ratings and coming off a third to Grande Rosso in the VOBIS Gold Bullion is the Pat Carey-trained Dan Zephyr.
The Mornington-based Danbird gelding has winning form at Caulfield and returns there for the first time since his failed 13th to Voodoo Lad in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) back on Caulfield Cup Day.
Other highly-rated Christmas Stakes nominees this summer include the Robert Smerdon-trained The Bowler and Darren Weir’s returning Tonopah.
Canny Lad gelding The Bowler is also nominated for Adelaide’s Christmas Handicap on Boxing Day and is out to atone for a string of unplaced runs this year.
Tonopah hasn’t raced since a Swan Hill Cup fifth over the mile back in June, before which he enjoyed back-to-back South Australian wins including the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) in May.
Mick Price has entered his Caulfield track specialist Duke Of Brunswick whose last race was in early August, while the Nigel Blackiston-trained Nicconi mare Exclusive Lass shapes up as a live-wire hope after her nice lead-up form.
Group 3 placed, she was last seen crossing a devastatingly close second over 1200m at Pakenham at the start of the month behind Smart Dart with Craig Williams in the saddle.
Other notable entries include the Henry Dwyer-trained Lucky Liberty who is undefeated at the distance (4-4-0-0) and who has also won his sole Caulfield start to date, recent Caulfield winner over 1400m Murt The Flirt and the Will Clarken-trained Mio Dio.
A winner of three of his four latest runs, Adelaide-based Mio Dio is another dual Boxing Day nominee entered for the Christmas Handicap at home as well as the Caulfield feature.
See below for the full Christmas Stakes 2016 nominees, final acceptances closing on Thursday December 22 with betting at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost – to follow soon after.
2016 Christmas Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 26/12/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x123412x24||ANGRY GEE||G||5||Jerome Hunter||76|
|2||35×4850103||DAN ZEPHYR||G||6||Pat Carey||96|
|3||15x422124x||DUKE OF BRUNSWICK||G||5||Mick Price||89|
|4||4088×30042||EXCLUSIVE LASS||M||5||Nigel Blackiston||88|
|5||152×527171||GRANDE ROSSO||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||92|
|6||0145915×87||I’M ABLAZE||G||6||Wendy Kelly||76|
|7||1100×41135||LUCKY LIBERTY||G||5||Henry Dwyer||82|
|8||5284301114||MIO DIO||G||6||Will Clarken||82|
|9||134987×318||MURT THE FLIRT||G||5||Brendan McCarthy||84|
|10||43231137×0||ODYSSEY MOON||H||4||Robert Smerdon||91|
|11||x63743x415||READY SUNSHINE||G||6||Ryan Balfour||73|
|12||x110x14516||SIR BACCHUS||G||4||Chris Waller||90|
|13||300121×141||SMART DART||G||6||Cindy Alderson||88|
|14||4210×75293||STREETWISE SAVOIRE||G||7||Patrick Payne||83|
|15||1x66240x97||THE BOWLER||G||6||Robert Smerdon||95|
|16||541x66115x||TONOPAH (USA)||G||7||Darren Weir||97|
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