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A rise in distance and a drop in weight are the key factors trainer Robbie Griffiths is counting on to get Chile Express back to winning form.

Griffiths has earmarked the Lord Stakes at Sandown on Friday as the ideal race for the Thorn Park gelding.

A last-start third at Sandown on December 6, Chile Express rises from 1300 to 1600 metres and drops from 60kg down to the 54kg minimum.

Chile Express pleased Griffiths when he hit the line strongly for third behind Onpicalo in a Benchmark 84 race, his first run in four weeks.

“He’s coming off a restricted race at Sandown a bit over two weeks ago,” Griffiths said.

“Mark Zahra rode him, he had 60 kilos and he hit the line well.

“He’s up in grade but he’s dropping to the minimum and jumping from 1300 to 1600 metres at a track and distance that he’s won at before.

“I would think he’d be a lightweight chance but really there’s probably a smorgasbord of chances in the race.”

A former jockey, Griffiths knows the perils of Christmas Day and then facing up to a Boxing Day meeting.

With a number of jockeys sidelined through suspension, injured or taking a break, Griffiths said finding the right jockey had not been an easy task.

“It’s hard to get a jockey to ride 54 any day, let alone Boxing Day,” he said.

“I’d say there’ll be no pork crackle being eaten for those guys on Christmas Day.”

He has managed to secure Michelle Payne who is returning from suspension.

Chile Express will be out to break a long run of outs on Friday since his most recent win in November 2013.

Payne has ridden him twice for a third in the Swan Hill Cup in June and second in a 1600m race at Flemington in July.

 
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