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Iggi Pop to deliver Christmas Cup cheer
Mandy Cottell
17:37 AEST Thu Dec 13 2012

Up-and-coming stayer Iggi Pop could provide a balm for trainer John O'Shea less than a week after Sea Siren's failure in Hong Kong.

The mare was considered Australia's best chance for success at the International meeting in several years but endured a tough run to finish midfield.

"I was really disappointed because I went into the race so confident that she would be very competitive because she had such a good lead-up," O'Shea said.

Saturday's Listed Christmas Cup at Rosehill offers much smaller spoils but Iggi Pop shapes as a genuine chance.

It will be the four-year-old's first test at 2400 metres but he is bred to relish it being by staying sire Savabeel out of an O'Reilly mare.

A last-start third behind Christmas Cup rivals Cantonese and Moriarty over 2000m, O'Shea feels Iggi Pop is looking for the extra trip.

If he runs well, the Summer Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on Boxing Day is also on the program.

"His runs have been really good but he's racing like a horse that needs a good bit of ground," O'Shea said.

"We set him for these two races and he's coming to a nice peak now so I'm pretty happy with where he's at."

O'Shea's two-year-old arsenal has been reduced to one with impressive barrier trial winner Le Cordon Bleu an early scratching from the opening race.

However Passarli, who chased home Le Cordon Bleu in the 800m trial, remains on target to make his debut.

A $90,000 Magic Millions purchase, he is among nominations for the $2 million Classic in January and O'Shea is keeping his options open.

"He's a very nice horse and we're very happy with the way he's going," he said.

Passarli is a dual acceptor on Saturday with O'Shea also entering the colt for a 1000m race at Kembla Grange.

Gangster's Choice will round out O'Shea's Rosehill team when he steps up to 1900m in the Greg Houston Plumbing Handicap, a week after working home for eighth to Malavio in the Festival Stakes (1500m)

Unsure if he would gain a start in next week's Villiers Stakes, connections decided to back him up this Saturday instead.

"He was only a first emergency last Saturday so it was quite feasible we would wait a fortnight and not get a run (in the Villiers)," O'Shea said.

"He's won at 1900 (metres) before so we'll take the opportunity to give it a go again."