Local Randwick trainer Graeme Rogerson is keen to keep this year’s Sydney Cup trophy at home and out of the hands of the deluge of imported stayers as he lines up his Redoute’s Choice gelding Bid Spotter in Saturday’s showdown.
With eight of the top nine Sydney Cup hopefuls this year being international imports, Rogerson is more eager than ever to ensure his competitor in the testing two-mile autumn feature is ready.
Five-year-old Bid Spotter is rated as a $26 chance to become this year’s Sydney Cup winner, betting on the showdown dominated by the Lloyd Williams-owned Irish import Mourayan.
Bid Spotter spent his final preparation for the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at the beach this morning with connections quietly confident he is in with a real shot on Saturday.
“He worked particularly well this morning,” Graeme Rogerson’s stable foreman Roger Elliot said.
“In fact, he headed out to the beach and had a paddle afterwards.
“He is in really good shape for the Cup, fit as a fiddle.”
Bid Spotter has had 28 runs to date for seven victories, his most notable track achievements being his Group 3 Hobart Cup (2200m) win in February this year and his last start victory in the Listed NE Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on March 26.
The only concern for Bid Spotter could be the traditional ‘Cup’ distance of 3200m.
“He has not raced beyond 2500 metres but he is rearing to go,” Elliot said.
“He’s as good as we can get him and we’re sure he will run a mighty race over the two miles.”
Jockey Brenton Avdulla is engaged to take the Sydney Cup mount on Bid Spotter, which will be the third time he pairs with the galloper.
Avdulla was aboard when Bid Spotter ran third to Lang in the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) earlier this year and also rode him when second to Voice Commander in the Listed Frank Underwood Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on January 15.
Meanwhile, Sydney Cup favourite Mourayan is one of six horses prominent racehorse owner Lloyd Williams and his stable trainer Robert Hickmott have nominated for the Sydney Cup.
Sitting at a quote of around $5.50 in the odds, five-year-old Mourayan produced a promising Sydney Cup trial at the start of the month running second to Cedarberg in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill.
Williams’ other top Sydney Cup hopes lie in equal $6.50 second elect C’est La Guerre and current $15 chance Muir.
Shinko King gelding C’est La Guerre showed form when running third behind fellow Sydney Cup rival Once Were Wild in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 9 while Galileo five-year-old Muir comes off a win in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup run over the same 3200m distance as the Sydney equivalent at Morphettville on March 14.
The other big-name import that has burst into Sydney Cup contention recently is the Chris Waller-trained Hawk Island sitting as the $7 third favourite following a gallant win in the Listed JRA Plate (2000m) last Saturday on Heavy ground.
“I was rapt with Hawk Island on Saturday and he has come through the race very well,” Waller said.
“It was basically a final gallop for him before the Cup.”
By American-bred sire Hawk Wing from Sadler’s Wells mare Crimphill, six-year-old Hawk Island carried a hefty 61kg to victory last start and with a lighter weight in the Sydney Cup is a livewire chance.
Currently Hawk Island is allocated just 54.5kg for the Sydney Cup, but will be bumped up to the topweight of 57kg when handicaps are raised at acceptance stage tomorrow.
Waller purchased a number of stayers at the England sales a few years ago with the specific aim of uncovering a Sydney Cup winner and his efforts could pay off this year.
“Once the imported horses adapt to our way of racing they seem to do well and it’s a big thing to be able to get the bloodlines,” Waller said.
“Hawk Island is by Hawk Wing out of a Sadler’s Wells mare and you can’t buy that in Australia.
“You have to get horses out of daughters of Sadler’s Wells but we are getting the direct line.
“We just don’t breed stayers in Australia so it’s good to be able to bring these ones over.”
Along with Hawk Island, Waller is also set to line up former European-trained Stand To Gain, also a son of Hawk Wing who was third to Bid Spotter in the NE Manion Cup, and Danehill Dancer seven-year-old Strike One in this year’s Sydney Cup.
“Both need the two miles to help them get through what could be a slow track,” Waller said.
Waller will also be targeting another Group 1 win on Sydney Cup Day with a horse previously owned by the Queen, My Kingdom Of Fife.
Kingmambo gelding My Kingdom Of Fife scored a massive upset in their Australian race debut a fortnight ago when they beat home a quality field as a $150 roughie in the Group 3 Doncaster Mile Prelude (1600m).
On Saturday My Kingdom Of Fife will seek their second successive Group victory on Aussie turf in the $500,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Sydney Cup Day features four Group 1 races and brings the annual Sydney Autumn Carnival to a close.