A field of potential 2014 Sydney Cup horses are set to face off in the $300,000 Group 2 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick Racecourse this Saturday including early favourite The Offer.
Nominations for this weekend’s quality handicap clash, an ideal final run for stayers looking to back up in Saturday week’s $1 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), are now out.
There are 14 early entries for the Chairman’s Handicap 2014, the nominations extended until 11:00am on Tuesday.
Heading the current Chairman’s nominees is the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer coming off some nice form this time in.
The imported Montjeu five-year-old is only lightly raced for their age having had just the 15 starts, nine of those on Aussie soil.
Winner of the Ballarat Cup last November, second-up this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival they ran third to subsequent Group 3 Neville Sellowod Stakes winner Junoob in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m).
Last start on March 29 they then relished a wet track in a smashing three and a half length victory in the Group 3 NE Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill.
That effort saw them shoot up the pre-field Sydney Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, The Offer installed as the equal $4.60 favourite with ace Kiwi mare Silent Achiever who has won the Ranvet Stakes – The BMW double this prep.
If successful on Saturday, The Offer will be looking to repeat a double previously achieved by seven horses since 1986 when backing up in the Sydney Cup.
Waterhouse’s other Chairman’s Handicap chances this year are then Neville Sellwood runner-up from last Saturday Hippopus and Encosta De Lago four-year-old Projectile.
Also coming via a good NE Manion Cup run are runner-up Opinion, the third placed Tremec and Nigel Blackiston’s fourth placegetter Desert Jeuney who is a $101 roughie to win the Sydney Cup.
The Chris Waller-trained Oasis Dream gelding Opinion is another import in flying form, the recent three length Parramatta Cup winner a known mudlark who will enjoy a wet track if the rain stays around Sydney.
They were second in both the Randwick City Stakes and the NE Manion Cup and are at single figures to win the Sydney Cup paying $8.
Waller has also nominated for his 2012 Chairman’s Handicap winner Permit.
In top form back in the summer, the rising eight-year-old hasn’t run since being walked home in the Parramatta Cup on March 1 where they pulled up lame.
The reigning Chairman’s Handicap winner Tremec meanwhile is further down the Sydney Cup betting markets at $31, the galloper having taken out the Randwick City Stakes – Chairman’s double last autumn.
The spring form on John Thompson’s Zabeel gelding was a shocker as they finished dead last in three of their four starts, and only beat home two other runners in their other performance.
First-up it looked to be more of the same with an eighth, of eight runners, in the Apollo Stakes, however they’ve been on the improve including the NE Manion third.
The other major Sydney Cup player nominated for the Chairman’s this weekend is Sertorius who is the $6.50 third favourite.
The Galileo six-year-old won the Group 2 Zipping Classic over the mile and a half during the spring and has been right up there in all four of their runs this time in.
Their last two runs have been at Group 1 level, a Ranvet Stakes fifth where they never gave up, and a sensational fourth in last weekend’s Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in the wet.
Also in the Chairman’s Handicap mix are then the likes of Hobart Cup – Launceston Cup double winner Epingle, the in-form Lucky Liaison up in class here and 2012 Australian Derby champ Zabeelionaire.
See below for the latest Chairman’s Handicap 2014 nominations, the final field and barrier draw due for release on Wednesday.
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2014 Chairman’s Handicap Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 12/04/2014
|1||DESERT JEUNEY||Nigel Blackiston||92|
|2||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||105|
|3||FLYING HOME||Barry Baldwin||90|
|4||HIPPOPUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||97|
|5||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||75|
|6||LUCKY LIAISON||Kristen Buchanan||74|
|7||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||99|
|8||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||104|
|10||RETORT COURTEOUS (NZ)||Steve Englebrecht||70|
|11||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||106|
|12||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||103|
|13||TREMEC (NZ)||John P Thompson||96|
|14||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||96|