The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott training duo will chase back-to-back wins in Saturday’s Hawkesbury Gold Cup 2018 saddling-up race favourite Ecuador in the mile showdown.
This year’s edition of the highly-anticipated Group 3 $200,000 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) attracted a dozen hopefuls before the early withdrawal of Nat King Cu (12).
Updated Hawkesbury Gold Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have evergreen eight-year-old Ecuador as the $3.50 favourite following his lead-up second in Rosehill’s Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill a month ago.
Freshened-up since, the consistent son of High Chaparral has his third run at the Hawkesbury track on the weekend and his first since running sixth in the 2016 edition of the Gold Cup.
It has been a long time between drinks for Ecuador who hasn’t won a race since January last year, but he’s been Group 1 placed twice since and is rated a genuine shot to give the stable successive victories after the Hawkesbury Gold Cup win by Fabrizio (2017) last autumn.
It’s an open affair in Hawkesbury Gold Cup betting this year with a further five runners under $10 for the win including $6 co-second favourites Duca Valentinois and market mover Mister Sea Wolf.
Drawn well in barrier three with Blake Shinn to ride, Holy Roman Emperor six-year-old Duca Valentinois represents James Cummings and the Godolphin stable.
He comes off back-to-back seventh place efforts, but was luckless form a wide barrier when only two lengths off the winner in the Doncaster Prelude last time out.
This weekend the gelding drops in weight and gets the chance to improve on his 10th in the race last year.
Duca Valentinois has been back to the Hawkesbury track once in the past 12 months and come away with a black-type win over 1400m last November.
Mister Sea Wolf is one of three in the line-up for Sydney’s best Chris Waller who won the event two years ago with Amovatio (2016).
Kerrin McEvoy partners the Irish-bred galloper who ran dead last in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) last start when 16th in the classic.
Prior to that he was third in the Prelude and second in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m).
Dropping back down in grade will suit and puts him back in winning contention despite a notable rise from the 50kg lightweight in the Doncaster Mile to 55.5kg on the weekend.
Rounding out the single-figure hopes for Saturday are the Hawkes Racing-trained Kingsguard ($6.50) who ran second at the track and distance in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) last August, lightweight Choisir four-year-old Plaisir ($7.50) coming off a brave third in Randwick’s Provincial Championship final with three kilos more, and Waller’s other best fancied shot McCreery ($9.50) who won the Rowley Mile here in 2016.
Check out the full Hawkesbury Gold Cup 2018 field and betting markets, odds open now on all the Hawkesbury races for Saturday through Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 Hawkesbury Cup Field & Odds
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