Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
Darren Weir’s Group 1 winning sprinter Lucky Hussler is the highest-rated and weighted hopeful nominated for a run on New Year’s Day at Flemington Racecourse in the Standish Handicap 2017.
This summer’s edition of the $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) headlines the January 1 racing action in Melbourne and has attracted 14 nominees.
Leading the list of potential runners in the handicap sprint is Weir’s seven-year-old son of Husson, Lucky Hussler.
Allocated a hefty 61kg should he accept for the Standish Handicap field, the gelding was last seen winning the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown in mid-November.
That was the first turf triumph for the $1.9 million earner since the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast back in January.
Winner of the 2015 William Reid Stakes and Toorak Handicap at the highest level, Lucky Hussler also ran second to Suavito in the 2016 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) during the autumn, which could be on the cards for him again in 2017.
Weir has also nominated for his returning Exceed And Excel six-year-old Thermal Current who hasn’t raced since a last (10th) in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield back in late July.
No other Standish Handicap entry other than Lucky Hussler is weighted above the 54kg minimum weight for Sunday’s clash, while the sole mare nominated to take on the boys is the Will Clarken-trained Cavaloce.
The six-year-old daughter of Testa Rossa has won two of her latest three starts, including the Listed City Of Marion Stakes (1200m) at home at Morphettville from a wide barrier 12 of 12 draw on December 10.
She boasts a strong record over the 1200m with four wins and a second from eight starts, but failed to finish in the money in her only Flemington assignment.
That run down the straight two back on Melbourne Cup Day in Group 3 class produced a sixth over 1400m, a distance above her preferred, and saw the Adelaide-based mare far from disgraced crossing only two and a half-lengths off the winner Artistry.
Also coming off a win is the super-consistent Brendan McCarthy-trained Artie Schiller four-year-old Divine Mr Artie.
He enjoyed a first-up win by a runaway three lengths at the Standish Handicap track and distance on December 10 under 56kg in a Benchmark 84, but will be facing a tougher class of rivals this weekend.
Higher up the ratings are the likes of the Mick Huxtable-trained Flemington specialist Lord Aspen (3-2-0-1) and Wanted five-year-old Rough Justice for Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra.
Other notable hopes include the Mick Price-trained Duke Of Brunswick coming off a first-up fourth from the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) on Boxing Day at Caulfield and Zupacharged.
See below for the full list of Standish Handicap 2017 nominations, weights and the latest ballot order ahead of the release of the final field on December 29 followed by betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Standish Handicap Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 01/01/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||36x129x791||LUCKY HUSSLER||G||7||Darren Weir||1||61kg||112|
|2||414x6x2119||LORD ASPEN||G||5||Mick Huxtable||2||54kg||98|
|3||x31450170x||THERMAL CURRENT||G||6||Darren Weir||3||54kg||98|
|5||43231137×0||ODYSSEY MOON||H||4||Robert Smerdon||5||54kg||91|
|6||x778325242||ROUGH JUSTICE||G||5||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||6||54kg||90|
|7||5x422124x4||DUKE OF BRUNSWICK||G||5||Mick Price||7||54kg||89|
|11||91422231×1||DIVINE MR ARTIE||G||4||Brendan McCarthy||11||54kg||81|
|13||12x1xDx1||COSMIC LIGHTS||G||6||Peter Morgan||13||54kg||73|
|14||1x527154x3||DOMESDAY WARRIOR||G||7||Linc Sullivan||14||54kg||72|
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