SA raider Sghirripa takes out the Christmas Stakes

South Australian training partnership Shane and Cassie Oxlade have continued a near-unbeaten preparation for four-year-old Sghirripa with victory in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

With a record that now stands at six wins and five placings in 13 starts, the Oxlades had no hesitation in booking Craig Newitt for the mount in a change which saw the left-handed whip-rider a major factor in the $200,000 feature.

“After Kayla Crowther decided to stay home, ‘Froggy’ was the first person I called,” Shane said.

“With the stick in the left hand, he has the habit of laying in (and) I think a ride like that will do him good to straighten him up and I was more than happy to have him on.”

After two wins at benchmark level in Adelaide, Sghirripa crossed the border and finished third in the Listed Village Stakes (1100m) earlier this month, a springboard to winning on this Boxing Day.

“He didn’t step as well as I thought he would,” Oxlade added.

“But then he tracked up beautifully and I thought he’d go to the outside on the corner but he came back inside and was really strong late.

“He’s got a good future that horse.”

The gelding has had one run at Flemington for a fourth placing over 1100-metres in June 2023 and while Oxlade says the home turn corner at Caulfield suits the gelding, he is not convinced that the Flemington straight doesn’t either.

“He’s a lovely horse, this bloke, and he’s got a very good future ahead of him,” Newitt said.

“He felt like the winner a fair way out.

“With that tendency to lay in when you put him under full pressure, being a natural left-hander straightened him up.

“He was travelling well a long way out.”

Sghirripa ($5.50) scored by 1¾-lengths over Najem Suhail ($9.50) with Curran ($15) a further ¾-lengths away in third.

Co-trainer Mat de Kock was happy with Najem Suhail’s effort with, similarly for Sghirripa, the stable keeping their options option on future runs.

Oxlade indicated a preference for targeting races during the 2024 Adelaide Racing Carnival.

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