A talented and capacity field of sixteen will line up for New South Wales’ feature race this weekend following the release of the 2016 Hawkesbury Gold Cup final field and barrier draw this morning.
As expected, leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller has dominated the 2016 Hawkesbury Gold Cup field; accepting positions for six runners including Junoob, Strawberry Boy and Tales Of Grimm.
Posting a few competitive results through the 2015 autumn, Junoob continued to impress through a typically strong Spring Carnival campaign, highlighted by a close second in the Listed Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) and success in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Ending his year second in the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) at Randwick on Boxing Day, the Haafhd gelding has trialled well in the lead-up to his competitive return this time.
Strawberry Boy has undoubtedly kicked up a gear since arriving in the care of Chris Waller and will enter in the 2016 Hawkesbury Gold Cup a live chance of success.
Posting nine wins and a further ten minors through only 31 career starts so far, Strawberry Boy resumed in spring for fourth in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) before again finishing fourth in the talent-rich Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) a fortnight later.
Having finished mid-pack in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) before failing to fire in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m), Strawberry Boy finished a close second to Lucky Hussler in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on the Gold Coast during a brief summer campaign.
Sure to have taken plenty of benefit from a first-up run for third in the Royal Randwick 100 (1400m) on April 16th, Strawberry Boy will leave from barrier 14 with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle on Saturday.
Tales Of Grimm is well suited to provincial Cups and should take plenty of benefit into the 2016 Hawkesbury Gold Cup from a first-up run in the Royal Randwick 100.
Winning the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) while under the guidance of Sam Kavanagh, Tales Of Grimm ran second in the Hawkesbury Cup to Sons Of John in 2015.
Local trainer Jason Attard included two runners in nominations earlier this week, however only reigning champion and stable star Sons Of John has been confirmed as a runner in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup field.
Resuming in spring for second behind Winx in the Theo Marks Stakes, Sons Of John produced a big late turn of foot to finish third in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), but had clearly had enough by the time he placed eighth in the Crystal Mile and thirteenth in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Sons Of John has performed well in barrier trials leading into his defence of the Hawkesbury Cup and will be partnered by regular hoop Jeff Penza, from barrier 11.
Ecuador will contest the 2016 Hawkesbury Gold Cup fourth-up and will relish a step-back in class from a lacklustre performance in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
Running second in the Epsom Handicap most notably in spring, the son of High Chaparral is yet to find peak condition through three starts this time.
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2016 Hawkesbury Gold Cup Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x75092012x||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||18||58.5kg||106|
|2||64x43151x1||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Chris O’Brien||9||58kg||105|
|3||0x82Px008x||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||20||58kg||105|
|4||0x484256x7||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||16||57.5kg||104|
|5||x4480x82x3||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||14||57kg||103|
|6||11x170x635||AMOVATIO||Chris Waller||Rory Hutchings (a)||19||56.5kg||102|
|7||x24269x670||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||6||56kg||101|
|8||2311x2380x||SONS OF JOHN||Jason Attard||Jeff Penza||11||55.5kg||100|
|9||13310×0906||CASINO DANCER||Mike Van Gestel||–||17||54kg||100|
|12||46x18712x0||TALES OF GRIMM (USA)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||3||54kg||96|
|13||3425823×06||SHOREHAM||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||2||54kg||95|
|14||5x867x60x7||LESS IS MORE (FR)||David Vandyke||–||12||54kg||94|
|15||430x7212x5||PAJARO (NZ)||Peter & Paul Snowden||–||1||54kg||88|
|16||222×515400||GREAT ESTEEM||Peter & Paul Snowden||–||13||54kg||87|
|17e||1×70005670||KEEPIT TO YOURSELF (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||–||4||54kg||77|
|18e||52431322×0||KELLYVILLE FLYER||Jason Attard||–||15||54kg||78|