The Will Clarken trained Steel Frost will be aiming to make it back to back Listed wins when his gelding lines up in the Adelaide Galvanising Christmas Handicap on Boxing Day.
Steel Frost has been a revelation since joining the Clarken yard winning five of his six runs this preparation, including the Listed City of Marion Stakes. He will be aiming to be the first horse to do the City of Marion/Christmas Handicap double since Hidden Value in 2012.
Trainer Will Clarken was thrilled at how well Steel Frost came through his last run in the City of Marion.
“I was looking to wait and run him in the Standish Handicap but he came through his last run so well and he’s in such great condition that I’ve decided to run him here on Tuesday. After this he’ll head to the paddock for a rest as we look towards the Autumn Carnival.”
Todd Pannell will partner the five-year-old again on Boxing Day and Pannell himself has had a stellar 2017 winning five stakes races this year including two with Clarken.
“Todd’s riding with supreme confidence at the moment. He’s such a hard worker and his decision making in races at the moment is exemplary. He’s also such a good bloke to have around the stable.”
Clarken will also saddle-up City of Marion placegetter Sudden Wealth, another of Clarken’s success stories from New South Wales. Sudden Wealth was 2.6 lengths off Steel Frost in the City of Marion but will meet his stablemate 2kgs better off on Tuesday.
“She ran a blinder last start. She’s spent a bit of time down at Aldinga Beach to freshen up; she really enjoys it down there. She ran out of her skin last start so we’ll see how she goes on Tuesday but she has the turn in the weights on her stablemate and she’s in great order.”
One of the main threats to Steel Frost will be last year’s winner, the super honest Casino Wizard. The Lee Creek trained sprinter is in fantastic form this preparation but just hasn’t been able to find the line first. His six starts this preparation have all been at Stakes level and has two Listed seconds to his name as well as a second and third placing at Group 3 level.
Lord Aspen’s chances will be buoyed by the booking of leading jockey Jamie Kah. The Mick Huxtable trained gelding finished fourth in this race in 2015.
Richard Jolly’s Bay Road has had a great preparation with three wins from four starts and has won three times over the 1200m. Jake Toeroek takes the ride on the sprinter and they last combined for an impressive win in the Murray Bridge Sprint on Murray Bridge Cup Day.
The 2012 winner Hidden Value returns to contest the Christmas Handicap for the first time since his victory five years ago. The nine-year-old has not won since February 2016 but stormed home late in his first-up run behind Oamaru Owl earlier this month.