Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will have three of the eight runners in the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) that will be run at the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday.
Waller-trained stayers Hoylonny, Permit and Secessio all faced off in both the Wingham Handicap (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 16 and Listed ATC Cup (2000m) at the same venue a fortnight later; with Hoylonny having the edge over his more fancied stablemates.
Hoylonny failed to beat home a single runner in either the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) or Myer Spring Fashion Handicap (1600m) but turned his form around to score an upset win in the Wingham Handicap before finishing second behind Gai Waterhouse-trained Travolta in the ATC Cup.
Secession finished third in the Wingham Handicap and second in the ATC Cup, while Permit is still chasing his first race win since he took out the Listed Manion Cup (2400m) and Group 2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) in the lead-up to the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) during the 2012 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Also backing up from the ATC Cup is veteran stayer Maluckyday who has improved in each of her three starts since joining the stable of Joseph Pride following his seventh place finish behind Mourayan in the Sydney Cup earlier this year.
Maluckyday resumed with a sixth place finish behind Strike The Stars in the City Tattersalls Club Handicap (1400m) and was slightly out-paced when seventh behind Secessio in the Filante Handicap (1500m) before making up good ground late to finish fourth in the ATC Cup.
The Zabeel gelding is stepping back up to 2400 metres for the first time since he finished sixth behind Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) and won the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at the track and distance in 2010.
Imported stayer Garud was included in the acceptances for the Christmas Cup but is no certainty to contest the Listed event; with trainer Michael Moroney indicating that the Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) on Sunday.
Garud performed well during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing third in the Listed The Sofitel (1400m), second in the TMB Printing Handicap (1700m), third in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m), fifth in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) and sixth in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), but failed to fire in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Rounding out the Christmas Cup final field are: Adam Duggan-trained Frozen Rope, Broadmeadow-based French Gift and imported stayer Martinvast.