Sydney’s ace trainer Chris Waller is aiming for another dominant day at the track at Wyong this afternoon saddling up the favourites in both Black-Type features including Junoob in the Wyong Gold Cup 2016.
One race earlier on the card Waller has his smart mare Elle Lou as the odds-on favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au in the $120,000 Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m).
Then in Race 7 at 4:35pm (AEST) his evergreen veteran Junoob narrowly leads betting to take out the $160,000 Listed 2016 Carlton Mid Wyong Gold Cup (2100m).
The staying showdown features a final field of 11 hopefuls including a trio for Waller led by the 61kg top weight, Haafhd nine-year-old Junoob coming off a number of good runs over his winter campaign.
Third to Benzini at Eagle Farm in June’s Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m), the import has finished in the money in two of his three subsequent runs including his first-up effort at Hawkesbury last month.
Junoob finished a brave third in an all-Waller trifecta behind McCreery and Marenostro in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m), the proven long-distance performer now up in distance second-up.
He also drops a kilo from 62kg to 61kg, but still gives the weight away to his rivals jumping from the outside barrier 11 draw with Blake Shinn coming aboard in the place of Brenton Avdulla.
Avdulla, who rode Junoob in the Rowley Mile, meanwhile partners the Kris Lees-trained Olympic Academy in the Wyong Gold Cup today.
The Newcastle-trained Magic Albert six-year-old comes off a win in the Taree Cup (2000m) from August 21 carrying 59kg and will relish the drop back to this afternoon’s 54kg minimum.
Olympic Academy pays $10 through Ladbrokes.com.au, while Lee’s other runner Slow Pace is a $31 outsider in the markets.
Waller’s other chances meanwhile are Sacred Master ($5.50) and Loophole ($6) drawn in barriers nine and seven respectively.
Early money has been rolling in for Hugh Bowman’s mount Sacred Master (56.5kg), the New Zealand expat having had zero luck in his opening two runs in Australia for Waller.
A Group 2 winner and Group 1 placegetter back in NZ including his third in this year’s Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200mn) over the two miles in March, the Mastercraftsman gelding has finished eighth in both his winter runs down under.
The first was behind stablemate Marenostro in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) in July before his unplaced run in the Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) at Rosehill on August 13, but with a better run today can atone.
Loophole gets in on 54.5kg with Tim Clark riding the Lonhro seven-year-old who finished runner-up in the Premier’s Cup Prelude before his seventh in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1900m) only last Saturday defeated four lengths by the winner Sense Of Occasion.
The other best fancied chances in an open Wyong Gold Cup betting market are the Premier’s Cup fourth placed mare Song And Laughter ($6), the John Thompson-trained Group 1 performed French import Orbec ($6.50) and Godolphin’s Medaglia D’Oro mare Algeria ($6.50).
Orbec ran third to Beyond Thankful in last year’s Wyong Cup in just his second Australian start before a second to the same galloper in the Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m).
He is best known for his fourth to Magic Hurricane at Randwick last October in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) and was last seen running a first-up sixth in the Premier’s Cup Prelude that he will be improving on here.
The John O’Shea-trained Algeria is also a multiple Group placegetter including her second to Libran at Randwick in April’s Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m).
Her first-up run was a ninth in the Winter Challenge (1500m) from late July, but the extra metres will work to her advantage at Wyong.
See below for the full Wyong Gold Cup 2016 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au.