Morphettville trainer Richard Jolly says it was always his intention to run handy sprinter Karacatis in the Listed Christmas Stakes at Caulfield rather than an assignment on his home track.
Jolly also accepted to run Karacatis in a $50,000 race in Adelaide on Boxing Day but drawing barrier two in the Christmas Stakes (1200m) was the key to the stable’s decision to run the gelding in Melbourne.
Karacatis has not been placed in three previous starts in Melbourne but Jolly said the five-year-old’s solid fourth to Fontelina in the Group Two Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in November was a most accurate guide to his ability.
“If he brings that run to Caulfield, he’ll be the one to beat for sure,” Jolly said.
“We have just freshened him up. He had a couple of weeks off after his last run and we aimed him at this race so we kept him in Adelaide.
“He drew well so he is going to have a crack.”
Karacatis finished midfield over 1400 metres when backing up seven days after the Yellowglen Stakes. Jolly said that run convinced him the horse produced his best form when kept fresh.
This meant the consistent galloper would not return for the Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
“The last run probably wasn’t his go,” Jolly said. “He was over there and we decided to back him up but he’s not that kind of horse.
“He’s a fresh sprinter and we’ll probably keep him to the short trips from now on.
“He won’t come back (for the Standish Handicap). He’s better with his races spaced so he’ll stay home for a break before we bring him back for the Adelaide carnival.”
Damian Lane will ride Karacatis in the Christmas Stakes.
Karacatis is on the third line of pre-post betting on the $120,000 contest at $6 behind the $4.40 top pick Don’t Get Excited and the $4.60 second favourite Loveyamadly.
Grand sprinter Zedi Knight will continue to defy predictions when he steps out in his fourth consecutive run in the race.
Zedi Knight will have his 55th start on Thursday and will attempt to win his second Christmas Stakes after the game performer claimed the event in 2011.
“When he started off, I said to the people that were involved in him that I didn’t think we would get a long racing life out of him,” McCarthy said.