The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The talented Matthew Dunn-trained Cepheus is favourite to carry the top-weight to victory in Randwick’s 2023 The Big Dance race field in Sydney on Melbourne Cup Day.
On the same day Flemington hosts the 163rd edition of the iconic Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m), Sydney will also feature a multi-million race on Tuesday with the second running of the $3 million The Big Dance (1600m).
A capacity line-up of 20 of the best Country Cup horses getting around faces off in The Big Dance field with Sea The Stars seven-year-old Cepheus donning the No. 1 saddlecloth and carrying the 62kg top-weight.
Despite his hefty weight allocation, the classy chestnut is favourite in The Big Dance betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $4.60 to salute from the inside alley with Nash Rawiller in the saddle.
Cepheus has won three of his past four starts and comes off two good victories at Rosehill.
Two back he won the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) before his narrow win on October 7 with 59kg in the $1.5 million The Alan Brown (1400m).
He is up in weight and distance but was good saluting with 62kg in July’s South Grafton Cup over the distance and is tipped to handle the challenge and these rivals on Tuesday.
The danger occupying the second line of The Big Dance betting at $6.50 is Bjorn Baker’s airborne four-year-old Iknowastar who chases a fifth win on the trot.
Tyler Schiller comes aboard the ultra-consistent Star Witness gelding who came up trumps with barrier three for his first Randwick assignment.
The horse is unbeaten with a perfect five-from-five record over The Big Dance distance and is up over a mile for the first time since he won the Dubbo Cup in race record time on September 10.
The speedster was also flying when saluting at Kensington in a Benchmark 78 over 1550m last time out carrying 61kg to another track record victory.
He comes right back in weight to 53kg for his grand final and will be hard to hold out with the big weight advantage.
Despite the bumper size of the field just two other The Big Dance contenders are currently at single-figures for the win with the Chris Waller-trained Wagga Cup winner from May Wicklow ($9) and Wategos ($9.50) who is another in the mix for Baker.
Seven-time winning Capitalist gelding Wategos is two-from-three at a mile and was far from disgraced at the track on October 21 when three lengths back eighth in the $1 million The Five Diamonds Prelude (1500m).
He had a wide alley that day and is drawn better with barrier eight in The Big Dance, and he comes back from 56kg to 52kg with Jay Ford in the saddle.
Other notable hopes being kept relatively safe in The Big Dance odds include mile specialist Akasawa ($10) drawn right out near the carpark with barrier 20, the Sara Ryan-trained Attractable ($11) who finished fourth in The Alan Brown last start, the Joe Pride-trained King Of the Castle ($12) coming off a confidence-boosting Randwick win, and fellow last-start winner Superium ($14) for Team Hawkes.
The Big Dance is set to run as Randwick Race 5 at 2:20pm (AEDT) on the 10-race Sydney card on Tuesday about 40 minutes before the 2023 Melbourne Cup field jumps at 3:00pm (AEDT) in Flemington Race 7.
2023 The Big Dance Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||1023421511||CEPHEUS (GB)||Matthew Dunn||Nash Rawiller||1||62kg||111|
|2||1112x19x00||BANJU||Lyle Chandler||Jean Van Overmeire||15||58kg||100|
|3||72761141×4||ATTRACTABLE||Sara Ryan||Regan Bayliss||7||56.5kg||97|
|4||25x45137x3||WICKLOW (IRE)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||2||55.5kg||95|
|5||08795×9631||SUPERIUM||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Adam Hyeronimus||10||55kg||94|
|6||0x54131x00||COMMANDO HUNT||Cameron Crockett||Reece Jones||21||54.5kg||93|
|7||52x18711x7||AKASAWA||Paul Messara & Leah Gavranich||Chad Schofield||20||54kg||87|
|8||1119×41111||IKNOWASTAR||Bjorn Baker||Tyler Schiller||3||53kg||90|
|9||8x56251x06||CAMAGUEY||Kim Waugh||Tom Sherry||22||53kg||78|
|10||x912624312||HOLLYWOOD HERO (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Jason Collett||19||53kg||76|
|11||4544534717||FULL PRESS||Brett Dodson||Adin Thompson||17||53kg||70|
|12||1917322×81||KING OF THE CASTLE (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Ms Kathy O’Hara||16||52kg||88|
|13||416×411128||WATEGOS||Bjorn Baker||Jay Ford||8||52kg||87|
|14||438910×517||SUPER HELPFUL||Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones||Andrew Adkins||11||52kg||85|
|15||3380351×57||PRINCE OF HELENA||Craig Weeding||Jake Duffy||6||52kg||82|
|16||78304×5272||HIGHLIGHTS||Bjorn Baker||Brock Ryan||5||52kg||79|
|17||32120×0050||HIGH COURT||Rodney Northam||Grant Buckley||12||52kg||78|
|18||57001740×0||UNAMERICAN||Richard & Will Freedman||Ms Anna Roper (a), (late alt)||18||52kg||68|
|19||195234×003||CRACKALACKA||Theresa Bateup||Ms Molly Bourke (a)||4||52kg||66|
|20||140×663567||MANDERBOSS (NZ)||Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones||Quayde Krogh||9||52kg||66|
|21e||5501844×04||PEPPER’S GHOST||Brett Cavanough||24||52kg||66|
|22e||139×225325||KNIFE’S EDGE||Garry Lunn||14||54kg||65|
|23e||743×707130||JUST A BROTHER||Terry Croft||13||54kg||64|
|24e||x80020x506||LION’S ROAR (NZ)||John O’Shea||23||56.5kg||97|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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