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The 2018 Sydney Cup during April’s ‘The Championships’ is the long-term autumn goal for the Archie Alexander-trained mare Wheal Leisure who returns to racing this weekend in Melbourne.
A four-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller, the Ballarat-based Wheal Leisure has to date enjoyed four wins from 11 runs including both of her previous first-up assignments.
This Saturday at Caulfield Racecourse on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day she will be out to retain her flawless fresh record resuming in the Group 3 $150,000 Mannerism Stakes (1400m).
It will be her first public appearance since the brave third behind Vengeur Masque in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day last November.
An up-and-coming stayer, Wheal Leisure’s latest victory was at Caulfield when she defeated Hardham by nearly two lengths in the $250,000 Inglis Cup (2000m).
She showed early staying potential as a filly when third in the Listed Tasmanian Oaks (2100m) last February, but was over 13 lengths beaten by Bonneval in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) in Sydney that autumn.
Alexander also took her to Adelaide in May where Wheal Leisure finished a well beaten ninth behind Volatile Mix taking on the boys in the Group 1 SA Derby (2500m).
He is hoping that as a four-year-old, the mare can be more competitive at elite level this campaign and listed the Group 1 $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 14 as the “dream” target.
“That’s the dream [Sydney Cup] – every single start she’s been very strong on the line,” Alexander told Racing Victoria.
“The furthest she’s gone is 2600m, but she’s wanting a bit further than that.
“I think a two-mile trip, whether it’s in Sydney, or Melbourne next year, that’s what she’s looking for.”
As for the 1400m of the Mannerism first-up on Saturday, Alexander believes Wheal Leisure is more than capable of saluting over that distance fresh against a field of fellow mares.
“She won her maiden over 14 [hundred]. Second prep she won first-up over a mile, so she does have a bit of toe,” he said.
“It’ll be nice to actually be racing against her own sex – she raced against older colts last prep, and it was tough for her.
“So her own age, own sex, it should be easier on her.”
Last year’s Mannerism Stakes winner was the Andrew Noblet-trained Silent Sedition who went on to run second in the following month’s Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) in Sydney before success in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.
All-in Sydney Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au currently list Wheal Leisure as a $51 outsider to become the first mare to salute in the two mile autumn feature since Jessicabeel (2010).
Futures Sydney Cup odds are led by the Melbourne Cup quinella of Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer, the two Irish expats now trained down under by Liam Howley for owner Lloyd Williams.
To back your early Sydney Cup 2018 selections at the right price visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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