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18 December 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Railway start on cards

Genuine sprinter Irish Moon may have earned himself another crack at the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) on New Year’s Day.

The eight-year-old won for the 10th time in his career when successful under 58kg at Awapuni on Saturday prompting trainers Ken and Bev Kelso to be consider the Ellerslie feature.

“He’s still in the Railway and he will get 55kg under the set weights and penalty conditions,” Ken Kelso said. “If he drew an alley he would be a chance. He’s just a good, honest campaigner.”

Irish Moon tackled last year’s Railway and finished a respectable seventh after leading from the outside gate.

Derby start on the line

Persian Empire is closing in on a trip home for next year’s Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m).

“He’s a nice, progressive horse who ran second at Moonee Valley last time,” said Trent Busuttin, who trains with his partner Natalie Young. “He’s having a freshen-up and there’s a couple of races coming up for him.

“If he wins one that would book his ticket to New Zealand. We could run him at Ellerslie in the Derby Trial a fortnight before the Derby.

“He's by Savabeel so he will get over a Derby trip and the race is worth a million dollars.”

His half-brother (Lot 469) by Ocean Park will be offered by Haunui Farm at the Book 1 Sale at Karaka on January 28.

Zabeel start in the balance

Shaune Ritchie has yet to commit Devise to the Gr.1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

The Cambridge trainer said he will monitor the mare over the next couple of days following her last-start effort for fourth in the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa.

“They were genuine Group One horses that beat her and it was quite a hard run on Saturday, if she’s well that’s where she’ll go.

“Otherwise the Trentham Stakes will suit her beautifully. She’ll get in with 53kg and she’s won at Wellington and ran second in the Oaks there to Bonneval.”

Guineas winner on target

Hasahalo is pleasing trainer Stephen McKee with her progress toward her Christmas carnival target.

The Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner will step out in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on Boxing Day and furthered her preparation with a 1000m hit-out between races at Ellerslie on Sunday.

“She won’t have had a race for five weeks by the time we get to the Eight Carat so we gave her a gallop,” McKee said. “She’s doing well.”

Hasahalo worked with the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) contender Fully Funded while Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) hope Volkstok’n’barrell also galloped over 1000m.