Despite its potential to unveil a genuine Melbourne Cup contender, being run over the same testing two-mile distance as its famous Flemington counterpart, this year’s Stayer’s Cup at Rosehill has attracted just 12 entries.
The feature event running at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, the $100,000 Listed Stayer’s Cup (3200m) originally only drew five horses when nominations closed on Tuesday.
After the diminutive number of nominees, the Australian Turf Club (ATC) extended the 2011 Stayer’s Cup entries until 11am (AEST) Wednesday.
There is the option for club officials to abandon any race in New South Wales if there are less than eight acceptors, but even if there are seven or fewer runners in the Stayer’s Cup the ATC are unlikely to abandon the feature.
“We will try to run the race if at all possible,” ATC racing manager Colin Tuck confirmed.
“It’s only right that we keep faith with owners and trainers.
“Obviously a race like this (3200m) doesn’t come along all that often, but we’ve had a 2800 metre race at Canterbury last week as well as the Winter Cup and the McKell Cup as lead-up races.
“The Queensland Cup is run over two miles next week and maybe there’s a bit of competition there but that was the case last year.
“Still, maybe it’s something we can look at.”
The $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) runs at Eagle Farm on Winter Stakes Day, the final Queensland Winter Carnival meeting for another season.
Late nominees included the Chris Waller-trained duo of Our Cannavaro and Patrician’s Glory, who join star stablemate Strike One.
Waller has a stranglehold over the staying races and horses in Sydney, with out-and-out staying thoroughbreds becoming a rarity in the state’s racing scene.
In this year’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), Waller prepared two of only four Sydney-trained horses in contention for the feature with winner Stand To Gain.
The Hawk Wing five-year-old managed to beat home Gai Waterhouse’s Older Than Time in the Sydney Cup this year, Waller having also been represented by Danehill Dancer seven-year-old Strike One who finished six lengths away seventh.
Strike One will be vying for back-to-back Stayer’s Cup wins after their one and a quarter length success over the Gwenda Markwell-trained Lang in the race 12 months ago.
The 2010 Stayer’s Cup win was the last for imported galloper Strike One who has failed to finish better than second in their following 11 runs.
Most recently Strike One finished four lengths away fourth to Legsman in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on June 4 and Waller is hopeful they can stop their loosing sequence before it reaches a dozen on Saturday.
The Matthew Hyland-trained Cranbourne galloper Phaze Action was another late Stayer’s Cup entry and is a previous two-mile winner having saluted in the 2009 Andrew Ramsden Stakes over 3200m at Flemington.
Other notable Stayer’s Cup entries also include the Heath Conners-trained Davcon; rising nine-year-old galloper and 2008 Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Newport; and Gai Waterhouse’s progressive four-year-old Reuben Percival.
The Stayer’s Cup is one of the final off-season black-type races in New South Wales before the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival kicks off.