Previous Christmas Cup-winning trainers David Peckham, Tracie Price and Robert Halliday look to once again hold a strong hand in this year’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 metres), heats of which will be run at Tara Raceway on Thursday afternoon.
Peckham won the inaugural Christmas Cup in 2011 with Napoleon Wiz (30.20 sec.) and followed up two years later with Bourne Again (30.41 sec.). Last year he was successful with Squishy Pea who ran a race record time of 29.63 seconds.
This year he will be represented by 2020 Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup finalist Rajasthan, who has drawn box two in the first of two heats.
By Kinloch Brae out of Telling You, the 4½-year-old Rajasthan will go into the Christmas Cup as the best credentialed runner ever with 39 wins and 41 minor placings from 117 starts for $399,000 in stakemoney.
Price, who strung together two Christmas Cup wins in 2014 and 2015 with Who’s Doing What (29.77 sec.) and Fear The Rascal (30.09 sec.), should be well-served by Golly Gumdrops from box two in the second heat.
The black daughter of Worm Burner x Psychotic Gold was a 29.92 seconds winner at the end of last month and was always on the pace when running a three length third to Dick Grayson in a best of day 30.06 seconds at last week’s meeting.
Halliday’s 27-race winner Hutch clocked 29.86 seconds when winning the 2018 Christmas Cup. On Thursday it will be Rotate jumping from box five in the second heat for the long-time trainer.
Since returning to Mount Gambier, Rotate, a son of General Destini and Guru Doll, has raced on five occasions for two wins and two minor placings.
Bushfield trainer Gary Lane returns for the first heat of the Santa Sprint (400 m) with the lightly raced Dynamite Miss, a winner of five races from only nine starts, resuming from box one after a two-month break.
A winner over the short course at Horsham and Warrnambool in quick time, the white and black bitch is by Dyna Double One out of Dee Tee who won 13 races over three distances at Tara Raceway for Lane.
Also back after a two-month break and jumping from box eight in heat one is the Peckham-trained Keen One, a winner this year of 10 races over 400 metres at Tara Raceway.
And the Steve Bartholomew-trained Galactic Zeus looks mighty hard to beat from box one in the second heat of the Santa Sprint.
Another lightly-raced sprinter, the son of Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball turned in a top effort last week when leading all the way for a big win in 22.91 seconds.