Murwillumbah trainer Paul Robbins sees the return to a good track and the 1400m trip as the keys to Chloride maintaining his excellent record at Lismore on Friday.
Chloride suffered his first defeat this campaign last start when he finished a 1.3-length third to smart Brisbane sprinter Kievann and Inverell galloper Puzzling Wonder on a soft 5 surface over 1305m at Ballina on December 7.
Already a winner of three races at Lismore, Chloride returns to the track for Friday's Lismore Heights Sports Recreation & Community Club Christmas Cup (1400m). He is also unbeaten after two previous starts over the distance.
"I think the track at Ballina the other day might have been a bit shifty for him and he'll certainly be much better off back on a good track on Friday," said Robbins. "And with the rail being out where it is on Friday, he should be very hard to beat out in front if he gets a comfortable lead."
The rail on Friday will be out 4m from the 1516m to the 700m, 1.5m from the 700m to the 350m and true for the remainder.
Chloride, a seven-year-old son of Red Element, has compiled a very handy record of 11 wins and five placings from his 42 starts to date. He has been particularly effective this year, winning five of his eight starts in 2018.
Chloride only recently joined the Robbins stable after previously being trained by Liam Munro and then Paul Nipperess. The gelding was having his first run for Nipperess when he resumed to win over 1200m in a Benchmark 58 at Grafton at good odds on October 30, then beat Kievann over 1255m in an Open Hcp at Ballina on November 26.
He had his first run under Robbins's care last time out when placed at Ballina: "He's certainly a nice horse to have in the stable," said Robbins. "I'd obviously only had him a very short time before his first run for me at Ballina and he's certainly been working very well since.
"He's got a very good record at Lismore and has won his only two previous starts over 1400m. That, and the rail being out, tells me he should race very well again on Friday."
Apprentice Leah Kilner, who has built up a fine association with Chloride this year, winning five races from her six rides aboard the sprinter, will take a 1.5kg claim again on Friday.
Robbins will also have Anzio running in the Christmas Cup but is not expecting him to be a threat at this stage of his preparation: "He's only second-up from a spell and will be better over longer later on," he said.
Inverell galloper Puzzling Wonder ran a brave race at big odds at Ballina last time out, splitting Kievann and Chloride when runner-up over the 1305m, and should be one of the main players again in the Christmas Cup.
The Wayne Oakenfull-trained gelding is a three-time winner over 1400m and should appreciate the step up to that trip on Friday. He tackled Chloride for the lead well before the turn at Ballina but just couldn't hold off Kievann who had the perfect run behind the leaders.
Other Christmas Cup contenders are the Casino galloper Landmarks (topweight with 61.5kg), Gold Coast gallopers Lucky Tom and Future Event, and the Ballina gelding Spiral, whose one previous Lismore start was a victory in this year's $30,000 Rousillon Hcp (1516m).
Well-travelled Queensland-based jockey Robbie Fradd, just back from a stint in Mauritius since May, partners Spiral for trainer Stephen Lee. Fradd's has six mounts at Friday's meeting - three for the Lee stable and another three for leading Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn.
Fradd also partners the Lee-trained Tough One (Benchmark 66) and Tycoon Rossa (Class 2) and Steven, Sing Song and Snow Valley for the Dunn stable. Snow Valley, a three-year-old Snitzel filly, is resuming since her easy Lismore debut win back on August 14.