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Who Claims the Christmas Handicap Rematch?

Saturday’s Listed Christmas Handicap at Morphettville is the final Stakes race of 2019 and it’s shaping to be a rematch of the City of Marion Stakes from two weeks ago.

Nine of the twelve runners in Saturday’s feature met a fortnight ago in the Listed City of Marion Stakes where Gordon Richard’s Benz recaptured some of that form we saw from him two to three years ago. It was his first win since claiming the Group 3 Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield in February of 2017.

With a similar field set to meet on Saturday with a couple of interesting additions, we have a look at each runner’s chances in the Listed Christmas Handicap.

Captain Punch

The topweight jumped well but faded late a fortnight ago and won’t get any weight relief this Saturday. He still has a good second-up record so needs to be respected but it looks like he might find it tough to win once again. 

Lagerfeld

The first of the three new runners on the scene just found Wagner too good last start at Moonee Valley. He’s nicely drawn, enjoys running over 1200m and you always have to respect any horse who comes our way from the Maher-Eustice stable.

Benz

Was good to see the six-year-old return to form a fortnight ago and as he meets a very similar field here, there is no reason why he can’t win again. Jumps from a similar gate with the same jockey and same weight. Kayla Crowther is in great form and Benz should be right in the finish once again.

Zalmona

The talented sprinter was a little disappointing last start but should be rock hard fit on Saturday. He has one win and three placings from five third-up runs and looks a great each-way chance.

Nipperkin

Was a huge run from the mare in the City of Marion to finish second to Benz and looks like she’ll get every chance to go one better on Saturday. She’ll sit at the back of the field once again and be running on late.

Ef Troop

In the summer of 2017/2018 Ef Troop was one of the most promising two-year-olds in the country winning the Listed Phelan Ready before running fourth behind Sunlight in the 2018 Magic Millions Classic on the Gold Coast. He was then only a head away from victory in the Group 2 Todman Stakes a couple months later over 1200m. A touch disappointing first-up across the border but he has won second-up before and is in the right stable. Big chance on his best form.

Arrow Lane

Has been racing in pretty good form without winning and should give a good sight once again. Could win if all goes his way but would need a bit of luck to turn the tables on a few of these.

Columbia

The City of Marion favourite was a touch slow away last start but worked into the race really well without much luck towards the finish line. He’s a much better horse than his last run and should bounce back on Saturday. Like his chances.

Aiguilette

The lightly raced four-year-old has hardly put a foot wrong in each of his ten career starts, recording five wins and two placings. He ran on very strongly to claim third spot behind Benz and Nipperkin and for a horse who looks to keep improving each start is a massive chance to win on Saturday.

Miss Jane

The mare put in a huge effort, just to be pipped late for fourth place in the City of Marion. She’s going to be even fitter this start and is undefeated third-up. If she can get into a nice spot from barrier nine she’s a chance to be right up in the finish once again.

Regalo Di Gaetano

The youngster was a bit of an eye-catcher first up in the City of Marion. He raced a bit greenly in that race but did hit the line very well. Will be improved second-up and while he might just be a bit below the grade, at the $31 mark he’s not a bad each-way bet.

Exalted Trail

The Grant Young runner steps up in grade here on Saturday after a nice win in BM70 company a fortnight ago. Only missed the placings once in seven starts over 1200m and while he’s in good form it looks like he’ll have to run a PB race to claim the feature race on Saturday.

Selections

  1. Columbia 2. Zalmona 3. Ef Troop 4. Benz

 

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