John O’Shea’s top sprinting mare Sea Siren will get the chance to claim a second straight BTC Cup (1200m) title when she starts among the favourites in the $400,000 Brisbane feature at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The four-year-old returns to the race where she claimed her first Group 1 title but will have to improve on her two lead-up races.
The Fastnet Rock four-year-old is yet to finish better than fifth from two starts in 2013, beaten 8 1/2 lengths in the Galaxy first-up before finishing six lengths behind Black Caviar when fifth in the TJ Smith.
But despite the lack of notable lead-up form, jockey Jim Cassidy believes his mount is not far off the horse that was a shining light at last year’s winter carnival.
“She was travelling well when she won this race last year, obviously she was younger and right on top of her game, but this year she’s not too far off,” Cassidy told News Limited.
Cassidy also has some personal milestones to tick off at the winter carnival, with the veteran rider currently sitting on 97 Group 1 wins.
The top hoop admits it has taken Sea Siren slightly longer than usual to get fit after a Hong Kong trip last year but believes she is a strong chance of delivering his 98th Group 1 this weekend.
“It’s probably taken her a bit longer to get fitter and stronger this time in,” he said.
“She’s a big gross mare.”
The triple Group 1 winner will form part of a strong field in Queensland’s first Group 1 of the year, joining hometown hero Buffering and fellow Sydney speedster Rain Affair.
Buffering is set to start as favourite after flying through 1200m first-up to win the Group 2 Victory Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths on April 27.
The Robert Heathcote-trained gelding underwent a strong gallop at Doomben this morning.
The BTC Cup field will be finalised tomorrow and Races.com.au will have all the latest news and updates all week!
Stay tuned and back your winners at great odds at our preferred bookie – bookmaker.com.au!
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