The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Big Duke has retained his favouritism for the rescheduled 2017 Sydney Cup, Darren Weir’s Chairman’s Handicap winner tipped to take out the two mile feature this weekend.
After the first running of the $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) was declared a no race due to the tragic mid-event fall of Almoonqith and Who Shot Thebarman, Racing NSW will re-run the classic this Saturday.
Sydney Cup nominations reopened and on Monday attracted sixteen hopefuls.
The original Sydney Cup field featured fourteen runners and those missing from the new entries are the ill-fated Almoonqith, the Robert Hickmott-trained Assign and Michael Moroney’s Vengeur Masque.
The new nominees are Group 1 winning filly Lasqueti Spirit, Lindsay Park’s Caulfield winner on Easter Saturday Boom Time, his stablemate Harlem, the John Sargent-trained Rock On and Self Sense for David Brideoake.
Still sitting top of the Sydney Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au at a firm $3.20 is Big Duke coming off a win in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) from April 1.
The visiting Charlie Appleby-trained, Godolphin-raced English raiders Penglai Pavilion ($5) and Polarisation ($7) will also both go around again in the Sydney Cup and are the next best fancied for the win.
The bookies are also now taking no chances on new edition Lasqueti Spirit ($9) who is out to break the drought of three-year-olds in the Sydney Cup results.
The last youngster to beat home the older stayers in the autumn feature was Tie The Knot (1998) for the first of his eventual two Sydney Cup wins.
Lee Curtis’s Beneteau filly is best known for her all-the-way Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) win at Flemington during the spring.
Lasqueti Spirit was last seen running five lengths away third to the NZ Oaks winning Bonneval in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) and will drop from 56kg that run to 51.5kg in the Sydney Cup field if accepted.
Also earing a shot in the rerun of the Sydney Cup is the Lindsay Park-trained Boom Time who won over 2425m at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Flying Spur stallion will now step up noticeably in class, but comes back from 58.5kg that he carried to a two and a quarter length win to just 53.5kg for Saturday’s Group 1.
The stable has also put in an entry for the imported Champs Elysees stallion Harlem who was well-beaten finishing second last (eighth) to Winx thrashed 20 lengths as a $101 roughie in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) last time out.
Other key Sydney Cup horses include the John O’Shea-trained Mornington Cup winning four-year-old Tally, the New Zealand-trained Chance To Dance who ran fourth in the Adelaide Cup and Who Shot Thebarman.
Who Shot Thebarman was involved in the tragic Sydney Cup fall a fortnight back, but came through the incident unscathed.
The Chris Waller-trained eight-year-old has contested the past three editions of the race and was last officially seen running fourth to Jameka in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
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