Grand Duels Awaits All Clear For Christmas Stakes Run

By: Sarah Fortnum
December 19th, 2011

Grand Duels is being closely monitored ahead of his planned run in the Listed Christmas Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse on December 26.

The eight-year-old gelding will undergo a blood count before a final decision is made concerning his presence in the race.

Trainer Byron Cozamanis discovered Grand Duels has an elevated white cell count after his last start eighth in the Roses Victoria Cup on December 3.

“I took the blinkers off him to stop him from over-racing but he wouldn’t even go early then,” Cozamanis said of Grand Duel’s previous race start.

The trainer remains cautiously optimistic that Grand Duels will run on Boxing Day.

“At this stage he’s okay as the white cell count had dropped a fair bit and he’ll be running next Monday,” Cozamanis said.

“But we’ve got to have a couple more bloods done on him this week just to make sure.

“He’s a horse who has always been on the borderline. It always goes up too quick like he’s got a virus in his lung.

“But he seems bright enough at the moment.”

Grand Duels has won 11 of his 45 starts and has earned more than $800,000 during his impressive career.

The Marechal gelding will be looking for his first win since posting victory in the Listed Kensignton Stakes in January this year.

Grand Duel is twice Group 1 placed, finishing third in both the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in 2008 and the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate in 2009.

The horse will be looking to post back to back wins in the Christmas Stakes, after winning last year’s race by a nose ahead of Miss Octopussy.

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