This weekend in Sydney the major race on the Royal Randwick card is the WJ McKell Cup 2015 where a host of smart stayers are nominated to face off in the mile and a half showdown.
Nominations for this year’s $100,000 Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) are extended until 11:00am on Tuesday morning but drew 14 original entries.
The top-rated of those is from the state’s premier stables, Chris Waller nominating for his veteran eight-year-old Bagman.
The Easy Rocking gelding hasn’t won a race since last August but finished a good third behind Permit in the Group 3 NE Manion Cup (2400m) two back at Rosehill before a disappointing 12th when failing to let down on a Soft track in the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) last time out.
Waller has also nominated for his British import Our Voodoo Prince out to atone for an 11th in the Lord Mayors Cup and his four-year-old Zabeel mare Rezoned who was last seen running third at Scone only last Saturday over 2200m.
Also high up the ratings is the Joe Pride-trained Destiny’s Kiss, the Power Of Destiny six-year-old having run fourth in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick on April 18 before a good third in the Lord Mayors Cup when beaten 2.5 lengths carrying 57kg with Jim Cassidy in the saddle.
Pride’s other WJ McKell Cup nominee is then the in-form four-year-old Sense Of Occasion.
The Street Sense gelding has run top two in his past three starts backing up from a 1400m win at Warwick Farm in early April to finish second to Darci Magic over the Randwick mile on Anzac Day and then second to Silverball in the Lord Mayors Cup, which is shaping up as the form race to following heading into Saturday’s Sydney black type.
The only last start winner nominated meanwhile is the Bryce Heys-trained Major Major, the six-year-old son of Encosta De Lago looking for his third straight win after back-to-back victories over 2400m in the wet.
Also coming off nice lead-up form are the likes of Wagga Wagga Cup runner-up Faust who is also nominated for Brisbane’s $125,000 Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday, Saab Hasan’s consistent Reset gelding Shoreham and the Kevin Moses-trained Singing Flame.
A winner of only three of his 19 starts to date, local Song Of Tara gelding Singing Flame won at Warwick Farm over 2200m on April 8 before a third to Gypsy Diamond in the JRA Plate at this track next start.
His latest run was also in the Lord Mayors Cup then when five lengths away fourth behind the Waller-trained winner.
Wagga Wagga horseman Tim Donnelly meanwhile has nominated for his Reset mare Jo Jo Girl who ran ninth in her local cup behind Landlocked at the start of the month and who her trainer hopes can re-find form when she returns to Randwick where she won over 2590m back in June last year.
Donnelly is hoping the step back up to 2400m and the possibility of a rain affected track will work in his mare’s favour as she looks to break the winning drought.
“The forecast is for rain on Thursday and the 2400 metres suits her so all in all it looks like a good race for her,” he told AAP.
“And she seems to really like Randwick.”
See below for the current WJ McKell Cup 2015 nominations, the final field and barriers set for release on Wednesday.
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2015 WJ McKell Cup Nominations
Royal Randwick – 23/05/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|2||x536151316||CARDIFF PRINCE||G||5||Darren Hyde||74|
|3||65×4706043||DESTINY’S KISS||G||6||Joseph Pride||97|
|4||6279331772||FAUST (NZ)||G||5||Kurt Goldman||92|
|5||727×564059||JO JO GIRL||M||5||Tim Donnelly||79|
|6||87335×3411||MAJOR MAJOR||G||6||Bryce Heys||75|
|7||80×9782870||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||G||7||Chris Waller||92|
|9||x6955918x8||PLANET PURPLE||G||8||Kerry Parker||83|
|10||177×053295||RAWNAQ||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||80|
|11||81201×4053||REZONED (NZ)||M||4||Chris Waller||76|
|12||2x8036x122||SENSE OF OCCASION||G||4||Joseph Pride||89|
|14||27×7040134||SINGING FLAME||G||4||Kevin Moses||88|