Gandalf, a hard-hitting local bred son of Rocamadour seeks his fourth win in a row when he lines up for the Diamonds International/Crown of Light Stakes and Trophy on the Boxing Day card for the top-rated horses.
The 2018 Massy United Derby winner will be facing eight others in the 1570 metres showdown and has a point to prove as he will be going up in weight.
The Diamonds International event will be race eight on the 10-race card with a purse of $30 000, and will be running off at 4:25 pm.
The ferocious front-runner had a run-away in in his first start, tacking the top class for the first time in the John B Simpson Classic on November 24 going 1570, but will be going up 14 pounds come Wednesday and all questions will be answered on how good this local three-year-old really is.
Gandalf will be departing from gate one once again and will take 125 pounds with Rickey Walcott aboard. The smart Chestnut colt is the only local-bred in the race.
Brothers Dan and Martin Raizman-owned five-year-old dark bay gelding Refire has done the opposite to Gandalf having run second in his last three starts which included finishing second to this year’s Derby winner in the John B Simpson Classic.
Refire has shown a level of consistency this year but will be carrying level weights with the six older colts and geldings as he will take 128 pounds, going up 18 pounds from his last race. Affrie Ward will ride and exit from gate three.
Horse number five Celestial Storm, this year’s Sandy Lane Spa sprint winner, also has her point to prove come Wednesday. The four-year-old grey filly has run third in her pair of 1570 metre races this year, finishing third in the Tommy Peirce on August 2 to Stolen and Debonaire David, before finishing third again in the John B Simpson Classic.
Her connections will be hoping she does not repeat a third third-place finish but a first this time. The American-bred filly will take the lightest weight in the race at 123 as she is the only female in the race. Rasheed Hughes will ride.
The highest rated horse in the race, Infrared, will be looking to bounce back to form having been unplaced in his last two starts been handicap races. The 126 rated horse had carried 133 pounds and 128 in this last two starts, having carried 133 pounds in the Final Handicap on September 22, finishing second last going 1 100 meters.
He topped sprinter Celestial Storm then, finishing fifth of nine to Gandalf in the John B Simpson classic with the top weight of 128.
Infrared had given out 15 pounds and more to the field in those races and it will be an interesting twist to the story now weights are level with the six older four-year-old and older colts and geldings in the race, which will carry level weights with infrared at 128.
Damario Bynoe will pilot Infrared for the first time.
Debonaire David from the Hopefield Barn had finished second in the Tommy Peirce this year to local mare Stolen and could put down a challenge.
Post time for the first race 12:45 pm.
The rest of the field is made up of No Not Again, Marcus Antonius, Campaigner’s Gold and Inspired Adventure.
My selection: Gandalf, Refire Celestial Storm, Infrared.