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Sydney Cup Tips - fresh legs might have the advantage

  • Weir looking for first Sydney Group 1
  • Big Duke may have the advantage after being pulled up in abandoned Cup.
  • Confidence rating: 80%
Big Duke

Although we were given an insight into how the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) may play out, Saturday’s rerun is a whole new ballgame.

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While the majority of the field were eased out of the race when it was abandoned midrace, half a dozen runners where ridden out to the line with Polarisation passing the post first from Chance To Dance, Penglai Pavillion and Annus Mirabilis.

The first three past the line were clearly most impressive, but of those, who is likely to handle the two-week back-up?

Penglai Pavillion has only backed up two weeks later once in his career and he finished last of 12 – however, he did finish last of eight in his previous start.

Polarisation has faced the one-week back-up on many occasions and run well, so there is no concern with him lining up two weeks later, but a major concern is the heat found in his fetlock over the weekend which required a veterinary inspection on Tuesday.

Likewise, Chance To Dance will have no problem backing up considering he’s done it many times before, and he seemed to improve off this Adelaide Cup (3200m) run where he carried 58kg. 

Of that trio, Penglai Pavillion has drawn barrier 16 and will have to go forward, while Chance To Dance (barrier 5) and Polarisation (barrier 8) should enjoy soft runs before staking their claim.

It really is hard to split that trio but if the track dries out to better than a Soft 7, I think Chance To Dance gets the nod.

He’s placed just twice from seven runs on Soft tracks, and with five wins and seven placings from 16 starts on Good tracks, he should improve on drier ground.

Of the others, Lasqueti Spirit gets in poorly at the weights for a three-year-old filly and it’s hard to see her holding off these tough stayers.

Who Shot Thebarman hasn’t won at Randwick in 12 starts, while stablemate Libran has to carry 3.5kg more this year than when he finished runner-up to Gallante last year.

His form this time isn’t as good either so it’s hard to recommend him.

The third of Waller’s trio, Kinema, is very unpredictable and has a tendency to overrace.

This race is an afterthought for Boom Time and I don’t like him on the one-week back-up, and stablemate Harlem has also just been thrown in at the last minute.

It would be a major upset if either of the 80/1 chances, Mr Impatience and Pentathlon, get up, and I don’t think Tally is suited as well as others over two miles.

That leaves race favourite Big Duke as the main danger to those that showed their hand in the abandoned Sydney Cup.

Big Duke was travelling well around midfield before being pulled up, and considering Craig Williams had a hard time pulling him up, he had plenty more to give.

He possesses a great turn of foot and the only other runner to show a similar turn of foot was Polarisation.

Big Duke is effective on all types of ground, has drawn well in barrier 2 for three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss, and didn’t have to slug it out like the first four past the post.


Sydney Cup Facts:

The Sydney Cup features alongside the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), $1 million Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) and $1 million Australian Oaks (2400m).

Odds-on favourite Talleyrand won the inaugural Sydney Cup in 1862 when the race was known as the Jockey Club Handicap.

The Sydney Cup is the longest race at Royal Randwick and first received Group 1 status in 1980 when won by Kingston Town.

With $2 million in prizemoney the Sydney Cup attracts the country’s best stayers in the autumn, with many set to tackle the Melbourne Cup later in the spring.

The Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) held at the same track one week earlier as part of Day 1 of The Championships and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) held at Rosehill Gardens two weeks earlier are the most reliable guides to the Sydney Cup, with 24 of the last 32 winners coming through those two races.

Some of Australia’s most talented stayers have won the premier Open Handicap event with the most recent being the Robert Hickmott-trained Gallante in 2016 for prominent owners Lloyd and Nick Williams. 

Winners of the Sydney Cup have generally gone on to compete in feature staying races during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with the Melbourne Cup (3200m) high on the agenda of most winning trainers.

Other notable winners of the Sydney Cup include The Barb (1868-69), Carbine (1889-90), Wakeful (1902), Eurythmic (1921), Rogilla (1933), Sailor’s Guide (1956), Galilee (1967), Apollo Eleven (1973), Kingston Town (1980), Tie The Knot (1998-99) and Makybe Diva (2004).

Unlike some of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival Group 1 features which have been dominated by the likes of Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller in recent years, the Sydney Cup hasn’t had a back-to-back winning trainer since the late Guy Walter prepared Tie The Knot to consecutive successes in 1998 and 1999.

Prior to that, you had to go back to 1985 and 1986 when Brian Mayfield-Smith saddled up Late Show to success before Marooned saluted the following year at the short quote of $1.60.



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Sydney Cup Tips - fresh legs might have the advantage

Although we were given an insight into how the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) may play out, Saturday’s rerun is a whole new ballgame.

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