Let the festive season begin at Rosehill Gardens (Saturday)

Australian Turf Club’s festive season of racing begins at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with the Group 3 $160,000 Petaluma Festival Stakes the feature event of black type racing on a 10-race card.

ELLSBERG. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

An 18-horse field has been accepted for the Petaluma Festival Stakes – a key pathway to the Group 2 $750,000 The Agency Villiers Stakes at Royal Randwick.

The winner of Saturday's feature gains automatic entry into the Group 2 $750,000 The Agency Villiers Stakes on 11 December.

Ellsberg opened a $3.50 TAB favourite and has been backed into $2.80 in the Petaluma Festival Stakes on its home track for trainers Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou and jockey Rachel King.

Ellsberg finished seventh last start beaten less than three lengths in the $7.5 million XXXX Golden Eagle – already proving one of the form races of the Sydney spring.

Brutality is a $7-$7.50 TAB second favourite for Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride and jockey Kathy O'Hara.

Popular NSW South Coast galloper Art Cadeau – trained by Terry Robinson and ridden by Tommy Berry – is  $9.50 and two starts back won the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick. Jockeys Berry and O'Hara have won the past two runnings of the Petaluma Festival Stakes.

The Hawkes Racing-trained Bandersnatch to be ridden by Josh Parr has been well supported in early final field betting – $17 into $9.50 with TAB.

Saturday's Rosehill Gardens card with 141 final acceptances also sees renewals of the Listed $140,000 Chandon Starlight Stakes and Listed $140,000 ATC Cup.

Snapdancer trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy has been heavily backed ($5 to $3.60) in the Chandon Starlight Stakes ahead of another interstate visitor Tambo's Mate ($4.60) trained by Tony Gollan with James McDonald aboard.

Southern Lad for trainer John O'Shea and jockey Nash Rawiller is $6.50 in early betting.

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