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New Year’s Day racing is headlined by Flemington’s Standish Handicap 2018 in Melbourne, the field for which features the return of gun Tasmanian galloper Tshahitsi.
Due to run as Flemington Race 6 at 4:20pm (AEDT) on January 1, this season’s Group 3 $150,000 Standish Handicap (1200m) has drawn a final field of 13 sprinters.
Among the mix and drawn out in barrier 11 for the straight six showdown is the Chris Crook & Imogen Miller-trained Tshahitsi, the Clangalang six-year-old hailing from the Apple Isle.
The gelding has plenty of Flemington form however having enjoyed two wins and a third from his four previous starts at the iconic track, the latest of which was the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) win back in July.
He hasn’t raced since, but is a solid first-up performer who could prove hard to beat fresh at Flemington with Brendon McCoull continuing associations.
The only thing working against Tshahitsi is the hefty equal top weight allocation of 59kg that he shares with the Robbie Laing-trained Lord Of The Sky.
Damien Oliver is booked to ride seven-year-old Danrich entire Lord Of The Sky who hasn’t raced since a distant sixth in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) in the wet at Sandown back in early August.
Lord Of The Sky won that race 12 months earlier and was brought out of retirement this winter, but has failed to show the same kind of zip on the track.
Cranbourne horseman Laing also saddles-up the imported Double Bluff first-up, the seven-year-old stayer unlikely to feature in the finish over the distance.
In March Double Bluff was runner-up in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) befo0re his Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) third at big odds at Caulfield in mid-April, with his shortest-distanced win to date being over 1800m.
The other heaviest-weighted of the Standish Handicap horses this season is the also returning Peter & Paul Snowden-trained mare Flippant (56kg).
Drawn gate 10 with Mark Zahra to ride, the Hinchinbrook five-year-old is looking to atone for her last start sixth behind subsequent Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes winner Hey Doc in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) in August.
She has trialled once since at Gosford and is out to break a notable drought not having saluted since November of 2016 on Melbourne Cup Day.
Presenting in better form for the Standish Handicap clash meanwhile are he likes of consistent Choisir five-year-old Chamois Road for Plumpton’s Patrick Payne and David Brideoake’s last start winning mare at Sandown from December 2 Miss Wonderland.
2018 Standish Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 6 (4:20pm) – 01/01/18
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||00x415x66x||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Damien Oliver||8||59kg||102|
|2||58x591131x||TSHAHITSI||Chris Crook & Imogen Miller||Brendon McCoull||11||59kg||102|
|3||x0533x536x||FLIPPANT||Peter & Paul Snowden||Mark Zahra||10||56kg||100|
|4||2311222172||CHAMOIS ROAD||Patrick Payne||TBA||9||54.5kg||93|
|5||060618023x||DOUBLE BLUFF (IRE)||Robbie Laing||Kevin Forrester||6||54kg||91|
|6||8493x000x9||SETINUM||Shane Fliedner||Cory Parish||4||54kg||85|
|7||58x5x45789||DIAMOND OASIS||Patrick Starr||Jamie Kah||5||54kg||83|
|8||7x3022090x||ADIRONDACK||Shawn Mathrick||Dwayne Dunn||3||54kg||80|
|9||1x3127x1||MISS WONDERLAND||David Brideoake||Ms Linda Meech||7||54kg||79|
|10||221667×159||HOKKAIDO||Craig Blackshaw||Stephen Baster||13||54kg||77|
|11||128×3211||TOY BOY||Greg Eurell||Ms Nikita Beriman||1||54kg||75|
|12||5253182179||I’M TELLING YA||Amy Johnston||Damian Lane||12||54kg||72|
|13||210×509465||SEARCH SQUAD (NZ)||Doug Harrison||Craig Williams||2||54kg||69|
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