One of the key support races on a crack nine-race program at Royal Randwick this Saturday will be the Chairman’s Handicap 2012, the handicap clash serving as a traditional lead up to the iconic Sydney Cup at the end of the month.
One of the top-rated entries out of the 18 nominations this year’s edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) is Gai Waterhouse’s reigning champ Once Were Wild.
The now five-year-old Johannesburg mare beat home Anudjawun by one and three quarter lengths in last year’s Chairman’s Handicap and will be out for back-to-back wins on Saturday, Once Were Wild coming off a good third in the Group 3 Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill.
Waterhouse has also nominated for the in-form Older Then Time in the race, both mares heading towards a run in the $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 28.
Older Than Time is the shortest-priced of the duo in the futures Sydney Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $21 while Once Were Wild is rated a $41 chance.
Don Edurado five-year-old Older Than Time, runner-up behind Stand To Gain in last year’s Sydney Cup, comes off three third place finishes this time in most recently behind Permit in the Listed NE Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on March 31.
The Chris Waller-trained Dansili five-year-old Permit is well fancied in the early Sydney Cup betting markets at bookmaker.com.au paying $5.50 to win, equal with 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain.
The only horse shorter in the markets is the Hawkes-trained seven-year-old Niwot ($4) who ran a good fourth in both the Ranvet Stakes and The BMW.
Waller has also entered his $26 Sydney Cup hopeful Hawk Island for the Chairman’s, the rising eight-year-old coming off a sixth behind Manighar in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Last year’s Chairman’s Handicap runner-up Anudjawun is also set to return to the race this Saturday, the $81 Sydney Cup roughie last seen running third in a 2000-metre handicap at Caulfield on March 24.
Other notable Sydney Cup chances nominated for the Chairman’s on Saturday and their current Sydney Cup prices at bookmaker.com.au include 2007 Melbourne Cup hero Efficient ($21) who was scratched from last Saturday’s The BMW due to a sore hoof, and the Michael Moroney-trained four-year-old Muirfield ($26) last seen running second to Extra Zero in the Albury Cup.
They 2012 Chairman’s Handicap final field and barrier draw, along with those for the day’s eight other Group race features, are due out on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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2012 Chairman’s Handicap Nominations
Royal Randwick – 14/04/2012
|1||ANUDJAWUN (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||89|
|2||BEIJING BOY (NZ)||Chris Waller||92|
|3||EFFICIENT (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||110|
|4||GALIZANI||John P Thompson||95|
|5||GUNS AT FIVE (NZ)||Chris Wood||89|
|6||HANKS||Peter G Moody||91|
|7||HAWK ISLAND (IRE)||Chris Waller||104|
|9||MUIRFIELD (NZ)||Michael Moroney||88|
|11||OLDER THAN TIME||Gai Waterhouse||100|
|12||ONCE WERE WILD||Gai Waterhouse||108|
|13||OUR SERENA||Pat Carey||83|
|14||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||98|
|15||PLANET PURPLE||Kerry Parker||65|
|16||PRIDE OF COUPEZ||Ken Keys||83|
|17||SOLID BILLING||Craig Ritchie||93|
|18||ZAVITE (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||106|