Chris Waller trained the quinella last autumn and is back for more success in the Sydney Cup 2016 on Saturday, his trio of hopefuls led by last year’s runner-up Who Shot Thebarman.
The two mile handicap classic is set to run as Royal Randwick Race 7 at 3:15pm (AEDT) on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, the $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) attracting a final field of only 11 stayers.
Three of those hail from Waller’s flying stables including the 57kg top weight Who Shot Thebarman.
Winner of the 2014 Auckland Cup over the distance, the now seven-year-old Kiwi expat’s other best 3200m performances were a third in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and his second to stablemate Grand Marshal in last year’s Sydney Cup.
He had only 54.5kg on his back in the same race 12 months ago and so goes up notably in weights this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
If successful Who Shot Thebarman will join Mourayan (58kg in 2013) as the only other Sydney Cup winner to carry more than 56kg to victory in the race since Tie The Knot (57kg) for his second in 1999.
Jockey Blake Shinn stays aboard the favourite in Sydney Cup betting through Ladbrokes.com.au chasing his first win in the classic after guiding Who Shot Thebarman to his last start second behind stablemate Preferment, who runs in the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Saturday, in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 26.
The last horse to win the Sydney Cup off a run in The BMW was Niwot (4th) in 2012 who was also a seven-year-old at the time, as was the following year’s Sydney Cup champ Mourayan.
Waller’s reigning Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal is back shooting for back-to-back wins for the first time since the aforementioned Tie The Knot (1998-99).
He scored the upset 12 months ago as a 40/1 shot on a wet track off a third in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) the weekend before carrying 52kg to victory.
This year the Dansili six-year-old comes off a The BMW third and goes up to 55kg with James McDonald in the saddle.
Waller’s third Sydney Cup chance in 2016 is Libran who Brenton Avdulla will ride on 53kg.
That weight includes a 2kg penalty for the imported stayer’s narrow win in last Saturday’s Chairman’s Handicap, his third win on the trot.
A five-year-old son of Lawman, Libran is now looking to extend his winning streak to four straight having his first run over 3200m.
He has an ace Randwick record of two wins and a third from three previous runs at the track and drops from 58kg last weekend down 5kg on the quick back-up.
The Chairman’s Handicap has produced the past three straight Sydney Cup winners with the last to complete the double Libran chases being The Offer (2014) just two years ago.
The other best fancied runner in the mix is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Almoonqith who is the second heaviest weighted Sydney Cup acceptor.
The Dynaformer stallion will carry 55.5kg with Hugh Bowman, who rode Mourayan to victory three years ago, replacing the injured Michael Walker in the saddle.
Almoonqith has winning 3200m form from the spring’s Sandown Cup success, but is out to atone for a last start sixth in The BMW at weight-for-age.
Along with the winner Libran the other Sydney Cup chances backing up out of the Chairman’s from last weekend are Gai Waterhouse’s third placed French import Café Society, the John Thompson-trained Auvray (4th), Joe Pride’s fifth placed Destiny’s Kiss who has winning form over the distance and the other Waterhouse-trained hope in the mix Dee I Cee (6th).
See below for the full Sydney Cup 2016 field, jockeys and weights with the barrier draw to be conducted later this afternoon.
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2016 Sydney Cup Final Field
Randwick Race 7 (3:15pm) – 09/04/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||58701×9032||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||0||57kg||110|
|2||067101×906||ALMOONQITH (USA)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Hugh Bowman||0||55.5kg||107|
|3||75003×0853||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||0||55kg||106|
|4||x1x6x34111||LIBRAN (IRE)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||0||53kg (inc. 2.0kg penalty)||89|
|5||150311×474||AUVRAY (FR)||John P Thompson||Tommy Berry||0||53kg||102|
|6||5x69x31145||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Jason Collett||0||52.5kg||101|
|7||x0x0069x03||GALLANTE (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Kerrin McEvoy||0||51.5kg||99|
|8||8x900x7723||CAFE SOCIETY (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Chad Schofield||0||51kg||96|
|9||000544×978||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||Ms Kathy O’Hara||0||51kg||93|
|10||211246×326||DEE I CEE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Thomas Huet||0||51kg||72|
|11||151042×451||BAYANOVA (NZ)||Michael Kent||TBA||0||51kg||67|