This Saturday the headline Sydney showdown is the WJ McKell Cup 2014 a race the Hawkes-trained Zephyron has been accepted for along with a Brisbane Black Type as well.
The Zabeel five-year-old is one of 14 gallopers making up the final field for this year’s $100,000 Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick Racecourse.
Whether Zephyron races in that at home from barrier nine, or in the closing race of Doomben 10,000 Day in Queensland though is yet to be decided.
Connections also paid up for them in the $125,000 Listed Premier’s Cup run over a slightly shorter 2200m where Zephyron would carry 54kg from gate three with Glen Boss aboard.
If they go the McKell Cup path they will carry a kilo more with 55kg, apprentice jockey Taylor Marshall on standby for the ride.
Whatever race they contest they will be looking to make it two on the trot after winning the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill from a wide barrier 13 last start on May 10.
While Chris Waller opted not to accept for Lord Mayors Cup runner-up I’m Imposing, the master trainer will still be represented in the WJ McKell Cup field this year by five hopefuls.
His contingent is led from out wide (barrier 12) with five-year-old Secessio looking to improve on their close third in the Lord Mayors where Christian Reith, staying on for this weekend, rode them on 54.5kg.
The import gets the same weight this weekend with their most notable stable mate being the 59kg top weight Permit.
Dansili seven-year-old Permit is after their first win since making it two straight Sydney 2400m summer stakes victories with their Listed Tatt’s Cup victory on New Year’s Day.
They’ve had three unplaced runs since, most recently behind Zephyron when defeated just under three lengths running fifth in the Lord Mayors Cup.
Waller’s other hopes are then Wazn, Sacred Flyer and Madam Nash.
Following Permit in the weights meanwhile is the Joe Pride-trained Destiny’s Kiss (57kg) who has drawn the inside alley as they come off a fifth to Cameo in the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) from last Friday.
They drop a kilo but go up notably in distance from a mile to 2400m which they last saw when third to Permit in the Tatt’s Cup at the start of the year.
Along with Zephyron the only other last start winner is then the fellow Hawkes-trained La Amistad in gate 11 with James McDonald to ride.
The four-year-old Redoute’s Choice mare is well bred being a three quarter sister to triple Group 1 winner Makybe Diva and comes off back-to-back wins.
Her latest effort was over the 2400m at Warwick Farm in a Benchmark 7u0 from May 7 for which McDonald was also aboard for.
The other major WJ McKell Cup player this year then is then the Gai Waterhouse-trained Order Of The Sun.
Drawn in gate six with Jim Cassidy to ride, the Encosta De Lago colt was at Group 1 level last time out finishing sixth on an unsuitably Slow track at Morphettville in the SA Derby (2500m).
Down in distance and class on firmer ground for Saturday and the youngster looks a top chance to return to their winning form from two back when taking out the Listed VRC St Ledger (2800m) by a massive seven lengths on Anzac Day at Flemington.
The full WJ McKell Cup 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights are detailed below.
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2014 WJ McKell Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 – 3:15pm (AEST) – 24/05/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||7×82811865||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||10||59kg||103|
|2||776333×515||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Joshua Parr||1||57kg||99|
|3||x7306x0802||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Tim Clark||8||55kg||95|
|4||x4131x8501||ZEPHYRON (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Taylor Marshall (a)||9||55kg||95|
|5||1x13355x73||SECESSIO (GB)||Chris Waller||Christian Reith||12||54.5kg||94|
|6||600168×070||WAZN (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jay Ford||13||54.5kg||94|
|7||1147x00x50||SACRED FLYER (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||5||54kg||87|
|8||x95488x398||MADAM NASH||Chris Waller||Adam Hyeronimus||14||54kg||85|
|9||x04500x847||ALZORA||Anthony Cummings||Sam Clipperton (a)||7||54kg||83|
|10||136×170816||ORDER OF THE SUN||Gai Waterhouse||Jim Cassidy||6||54kg||80|
|11||1715x8x9x6||ASTRO AVALANCHE (GB)||Sam Kavanagh||Ms Katelyn Mallyon (a)||2||54kg||79|
|12||x81x853159||SOMMERNACHTSTRAUM (GER)||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||3||54kg||78|
|13||32118×0811||LA AMISTAD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||11||54kg||77|
|14||25112×0949||KOBI SUN||Guy Walter||Jeff Lloyd||4||54kg||72|