Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse comes to life for Day 2 of the coveted The Championships on Saturday with four more Group 1 features including the 2015 Sydney Cup, our betting tips for which are found right here.
Running one race before the day’s marquee race, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, this year’s $1.6 million Group 1 Schweppes 150th Sydney Cup (3200m) jumps at 3:55pm (AEST) as Race 8 and features 11 hopefuls.
Originally Ed Dunlop’s triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux was part of a 12-horse Sydney Cup field, but the veteran raider instead vies for a share of the $4 million on offer in the Queen Elizabeth and so has been scratched from the day’s two mile feature.
Five of the remaining runners have a previous win over the testing 3200m including the clear Sydney Cup betting favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au, Hartnell ($2.20).
John O’Shea’s in-form import from the Godolphin powerhouse has won his past two starts on the trot including the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 28, which last produced a Sydney Cup winner in Niwot (2012).
His main dangers in the Sydney Cup odds are then perceived to be fellow single figure hopes Who Shot Thebarman ($4.60) for Chris Waller and the horse that beat him home by two when they ran third and first in the Melbourne Cup during the spring Protectionist ($4.80).
So are the first three in betting the ones to back for the Sydney Cup trifecta on Saturday or is it worth looking further down the markets at the likes of John Moore’s Hong Kong galloper Dominant ($16) who will stay on in Sydney, the Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory ($16) getting in on just 52kg for jockey Glen Boss or even Waller’s other runner Grand Marshal ($34)?
#11 Who Shot Thebarman ($4.60)
While the favourite has genuine claims the price is a bit short for us and we’re more than happy to take him on with another proven two-miler Who Shot Thebarman. Winner of last year’s Auckland Cup over the 3200m, this consistent Kiwi expat comes off a string of solid autumn runs with improvement expected as he gets out over more distance. Stamping himself as a stayer to watch down under with a brave third behind runaway winner Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington last November, the six-year-old was last seen crossing fourth in The BMW as a 20/1 shot. He’s got the second best Win Rate (42%) and a Soft track holds no fears.
#11 Grand Marshall ($34)
With Who Shot Thebarman on top of our Sydney Cup odds, for value we are throwing in the stablemate to follow over the line. Really juicy odds on offer for Waller’s five-year-old import who has run top three in three of his previous four runs at Randwick (4-0-2-1) including a third in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) in the wet on April 6. The Chairman’s is the traditional Sydney Cup lead-up and has produced six of the past 10 winners; Grand Marshall the only runner coming via that race this autumn. Up over the 3200m for the first time here, the gelding gets in on the 52kg minimum and is drawn a treat in barrier four. He is one of only two in the field with a previous top three run at Randwick and is ridden by dual Sydney Cup winning jockey Jim Cassidy.
#6 Hartnell ($2.20)
The favourite is at short odds but it is a deserving price and it’s impossible to leave him out of the top three completely. Won’t be much in this especially with Tommy Berry aboard the in-form The BMW winner who drops from 57.5kg last time out to just 52kg for the Sydney Cup where he shoots for his second 3200m win from as many attempts. Sydney Cup favourites have a 50% strike rate over the past decade, can he continue that good run for the punters’ picks?
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