Although Lee Park is a long way away from Santa’s cottage, there will be a jolly roll up of horses and racegoers keen to kick off the festive season on Sunday.
Those looking to put a jingle in their pocket may well look to Run The Cutter, a candidate in the St Patrick’s Farewells Matthew Vine QTIS Class 1 Handicap (1200m).
For starters, his jockey Hannah Phillips – like Santa – will be attired in a red jacket with white horseshoes, white sleeves and a white cap.
Furthermore, in North America, a cutter is a light horse-drawn sleigh.
Sunday is also the beginning of the “peace and goodwill” season.
Accordingly, Run The Cutter’s sire is Love Conquers All; his dam is Surfie Chick; and her mother, Starshine Express, could refer to Father Christmas’s famous form of transport.
But there’s more!
The chestnut is trained at Oakey by Peter Sexton, a surname that has an association with church bell-ringers.
Adding tinsel to the tree is the fact that Run The Cutter is in good form.
The four-year-old mare followed up her Maiden success at Gatton with a stirring Kumbia victory over Forgotten Feeling on Cup day.
That runner-up scored easily at Mount Perry last time out.
The pair are rivals again at 1:50pm on Sunday when Divine Miss Boom could be a danger.
Other runners during the meeting with Yuletide vibes include Count Clang, a son of When Bells Clang.
The six year old may need more time – he finished a distant fifth at Gympie last weekend when making a reappearance after his first two career outings way back in March 2018.
Sandy Town, foaled by the Show A Heart mare Caring, is another aspirant that will sport white and red livery.
There are a couple of omens for the St Patrick’s School contingent, too.
With respect to the outgoing principal Matthew Vine, My Happy Place and Mista Busy have a ring about them.
The dam of the latter cuddy happens to be Eraser.
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The Pivotal Point
The Heritage Bank Burnett To The Valley BM 60 Handicap (1200m) is both the penultimate race on the agenda and the penultimate round of the series that concludes at Esk on December 14.
The owners of Dia Vernon, Denman Quality and Run Pam Run along with trainers Ben Park, Bob Murray, David Reynolds and Graham Banks and jockeys Kelly Gates, Leeanne McCoy, Hannah Phillips, Tessa Townsend and Robert Faehr will all get their chance to secure valuable points.
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The Unkind Marbles
The roll of the numbers for Saturday’s Country Cups Challenge Final at Doomben has dealt a blow to hopefuls known in the South Burnett.
The Lindsay Anderson-trained Clouds drew gate 14 in the 1630 metre contest that attracted a capacity field of 15 with five reserves.
The grey by Bradbury’s Luck will want Dame Fortune to smile at him as his rider Stephanie Thornton attempts to find a good spot after the jump.
Sixteen acceptors for the $105,000 event are on the limit mark of 54 kilograms.
In many other races, Clouds, with his Handicap Rating of 76.5, would be conceding those rivals weight.
The eight-year-old has scored three times over a mile.
Although best known for his exploits on the sand, the Hurricane Sky’s grandson has prevailed on the grass at Werribee and the Sunshine Coast.
His last start effort with Thornton aboard at Caloundra on November 8 would have topped him off nicely for this weekend’s tough assignment.
The Hivesville horse was beaten just over three lengths over 1400 metres in a BM 80 Handicap.
Hidden Budget, the Oakey galloper that qualified by taking out the Kumbia leg of the series, has to cope with barrier 19.
Graham Banks’ charge has also won over Saturday’s trip.
Pick of the Pubs, the last of the emergencies, was allotted stall 16.
The Publishing gelding has been successful at Burrandowan and Nanango.
Sadly, Marlahn, a final acceptor on 20 November for the Garry Schwenke stable, has subsequently passed away.
The bay gelding would have attracted interest in the South Burnett: his six tasks over the Nanango metric mile had produced a 2-2-1-1 form line.
Everything is pointing to a great day at Lee Park.
The program has been strongly supported by the fraternity despite the competition for starters generated by the fixture at Kilcoy on Saturday.
There is potential for this event to develop into a community catch up opportunity, a role so well performed by the Nanango Race Club’s Easter card.
See you at the track!