The horse rated most likely to defeat the dominant Chris Waller-trained trio in Saturday’s Sydney Cup 2016, Almoonqith is drawn the second outside barrier for the two mile classic at Royal Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’.
Tuesday afternoon saw Racing NSW draw barriers for the 11 stayers making up the field for this year’s $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m), which is set to run as Randwick Race 7 at 3:15pm (AEDT) on Saturday afternoon.
Last year’s winning trainer Waller dominates the field and current Sydney Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au with three in-form gallopers including the new favourite Libran ($3.40) who is on the drift out from $2.90.
Brenton Avdulla has the ride on the in-form Lawman five-year-old who shoots for four straight wins on the back of a Sydney Cup qualifying victory in last weekend’s Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m).
Libran is out to be the second Sydney Cup favourite in three years to salute for the punters joining The Offer (2014) and will jump from barrier three, which the last back-to-back winner Tie The Knot jumped from for both his wins in 1998 and 1999.
The import is also shooting for the Chairman’s Handicap – Sydney Cup double last achieved by the aforementioned Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer two years ago.
Waller also saddles-up his 2014 Sydney Cup quinella of Grand Marshal ($4.40) and Who Shot Thebarman ($3.50) who is the market mover backed in from $3.80 with proven form on Heavy going.
The Kiwi expat ran second in the race 12 months ago and is allocated the 57kg top weight, but is still firming to go one better this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The seven-year-old is drawn mid-field in barrier five for his hoop Blake Shinn, a gate that hasn’t produced a Sydney Cup winner since Count Chivas back in 1996 two decades ago.
Waller’s reigning champion Grand Marshal is drawn one wider in barrier six with James McDonald aboard the Dansili gelding who comes off a third to stablemate Preferment in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 26.
The BMW also produces Who Shot Thebarman who ran third.
Outside of Waller’s three hopefuls the other best fancied for the win at $11 is Almoonqith who has barrier 10 with last Saturday’s Doncaster Mile winning jockey Hugh Bowman after his second win following a successful ride aboard Mourayan in 2013.
The last Sydney Cup winner from gate 10 was the John O’Shea-trained mare Jessicabeel in 2010, and while Almoonqith won the Sandown Cup last November over the 3200m he is untested on Heavy going.
The most successful Sydney Cup barrier in the past 30 years with a bumper nine winners is gate eight, the barrier The Offer won from in 2014.
This year the coveted gate belongs to the John Thompson-trained Auvray who Tommy Berry, the winning hoop on The Offer in another telling form line to follow, booked for the ride.
Getting in on 53kg, Thompson’s consistent French import is yet to win down under but drops from 57.5kg that he carried to a credible fourth behind Libran in the Chairman’s last weekend.
A $31 roughie in the Sydney Cup odds to turn the tables, Auvray is proven in the wet and with winning form over 3000m in Group 2 company back in France, he’s should be improving.
See below for the full Sydney Cup 2016 barriers and current odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 bonus bet offer for new sign-ups that deposit and quote the code BETBONUS!