A collection of Sydney Cup-bound stayers make up the Chairman’s Handicap 2016 nominations for one of the key support acts on the Royal Randwick race card this Saturday on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
Nominations for this year’s $300,000 Group 2 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) attracted 16 early entries including the top four in betting for Saturday week’s $2 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Current favourite in pre-field Sydney Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.40 for the win is last year’s runner-up Who Shot Thebarman.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller secured his second Sydney Cup trophy 12 months ago when Grand Marshal (2015) beat home stablemate Who Shot Thebarman.
This year the now seven-year-old Yamanin Vital gelding Who Shot Thebarman is favourite to go one better following a strong start to his autumn including a last start second to another Waller stable star, Preferment, in last weekend’s Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
The Kiwi import could race on three successive Saturday’s starting with a seven day turnaround from The BMW at Rosehill into the Chairman’s Handicap on Doncaster Mile Day.
Waller has a total of three Chairman’s Handicap nominees with Who Shot Thebarman joined by the reigning Sydney Cup champ Grand Marshal who is a $5 hope to go back-to-back in the Group 1 for the first time since Tie The Knot (1998-99) and Libran.
Libran occupies the second line of all-in Sydney Cup odds at $4 after the European import put together back-to-back black type wins in March.
The first was a narrow success in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) before his two length romp as the odds-on favourite in Rosehill’s Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) on March 19.
Outside of Waller’s dominant trio, the other best fancied 2016 Sydney Cup hope nominated for Saturday’s lead-up is Almoonqith ($13) for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
Six-year-old Dynaformer stallion Almoonqith won the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) in the spring before three unplaced runs this time in, including The BMW sixth he’ll be out to atone for if accepted into the weekend’s rematch.
Just two mares feature in the Chairman’s Handicap nominations this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with the John O’Shea-trained Medaglia D’Oro four-year-old Algeria who has a gun Randwick place record (5-0-1-3) and Michael Kent’s last start Sandown-Lakeside winner over 3000m Bayanova.
Gai Waterhouse, who won the 2014 Sydney Cup with The Offer, has two entries for Saturday in New Zealand expat Dee I Cee and imported French stayer Café Society who ran second to Libran in the Manion Cup last time out.
Other notable hopes for the weekend include the Joe Pride-trained Destiny’s Kiss and the flying Bjorn Baker-trained Supercoach coming off three straight wins including back-to-back victories over 2400m at Kembla Grange and Warwick Farm respectively.
See below for the current Chairman’s Handicap 2016 nominations, the final field and barrier draw set for release on Wednesday morning.
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2016 Chairman’s Handicap Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 02/04/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|2||067101×906||ALMOONQITH (USA)||H||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||106|
|3||1150311×47||AUVRAY (FR)||G||5||John P Thompson||102|
|4||151042×451||BAYANOVA (NZ)||M||5||Michael Kent||73|
|5||x8x900x772||CAFE SOCIETY (FR)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse||95|
|6||211246×32||DEE I CEE (NZ)||G||4||Gai Waterhouse||74|
|7||35x69x3114||DESTINY’S KISS||G||7||Joseph Pride||101|
|8||4098035×85||DON DOREMO (NZ)||G||5||Robbie Laing||87|
|9||75003×0853||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||G||6||Chris Waller||108|
|10||12249×5542||HIGH OPINION||G||4||Chris Heywood||72|
|11||4x1x6x3411||LIBRAN (IRE)||G||5||Chris Waller||103|
|12||51712×947||OUR BAZAAR (IRE)||H||5||Archie Alexander||74|
|14||9x00x9x000||THOUGHT WORTHY (USA)||G||7||Brett Cavanough||84|
|16||58701×9032||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||G||7||Chris Waller||111|