A capacity field of twenty runners are set to line up in the 2018 Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup at Randwick on Saturday. The full field of stayers will be put to the test over the 3200m in the feature staying contest during the Sydney Autumn Carnival on day two of The Championships.
Prominent Victorian owner Lloyd Williams will be chasing his fifth Sydney Cup trophy with Almandin and Aloft while Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will saddle up three runners, Who Shot Thebarman, Libran and Patrick Erin.
We will have a look at the field below and try to work out who has the best staying credentials to take out the 2018 Sydney Cup.
Almandin has earned his top weight of 57kg and favouritism for the 2018 Sydney Cup with some solid staying form which includes his last start win in the Group 1 $1.5m Kia Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill. The German import was the winner for 2016 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and is only one of a handful of Sydney Cup runners to have won over the two miles. One of the main chances.
Who Shot Thebarman
Former Kiwi stayer Who Shot Thebarman is one of three Chris Waller trained runners in the Sydney Cup and is also a proven two miler with a win in the 2014 Auckland Cup in New Zealand. The nine year old has been stepping up in distance throughout his Autumn Carnival campaign with his best effort being his last start third to Almandin in the Tancred Stakes. A veteran stayer who always puts in his best over a staying trip.
Libran is the second of the Chris Waller runners but hasn’t won beyond 2600m. The European import’s best trips are over the middle distances and he is coming off a last start second to Sydney Cup rival Auvray in the Group 3 $350,000 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill. Has been listed as one of the outsiders of the field at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Ventura Storm has found his best form at the right time with a last start second to Sydney Cup rival Sir Charles Road in the Group 2 $300,000 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick last Saturday. The Lindsay Park trained stayer is yet to win beyond 2500m and hasn’t won a race on Australian soil since arriving from Europe in 2017. Ventura Storm’s last start second has promoted him up the market order around the $12 mark with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Single Gaze was well beaten at her only attempt at the 3200m when seventeenth to Rekindling in last year’s Melbourne Cup and it is hard to see her threatening here. The Nick Olive trained mare hasn’t won at five starts during her 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign but has been placed twice at Group 1 level over 1400m in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield and over 2000m in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill. Single Gaze’s latest effort saw her running fifth to Almandin in the 2400m Tancred Stakes. Will be tested over the 3200m of the Sydney Cup.
Hard to line up the form of the Japanese raider Pre Stwick but the astute horsemen from Japan have a knack of producing some tough staying types. Pre Stwick is yet to win over 3200m but has performed okay at distances beyond the two miles and was placed third, two starts back, over 3600m in Group 2 company at Nakayama in Japan. The seven year old is included among the chances in the betting and is hovering around the $12 mark with Ladbrokes.com.au. Hong Kong super star Joao Moreira takes the ride.
Five To Midnight
Kiwi stayer Five To Midnight has to be considered a lightweight chance after finishing second in the 2018 Auckland Cup over 3200m at Ellerslie in New Zealand in March. The Lisa Latta trained five year old has had one more lead up run for the Sydney Cup for a second over 2000m in Group 2 company at Awapuni. Five To Midnight will be at good each way odds and is worth plenty of thought.
Auvray is a two times winner over 3000m in France but his only try over the 3200m resulted in a well beaten tenth in the 2016 Sydney Cup. Auvray was back in the winner’s stall two starts back in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes over 2000m at Rosehill and then made up some ground from the back when sixth to Almandin in the Tancred Stakes. Glyn Schofield will be able to put him to sleep back in the field from barrier one and give him every chance to be run out the 3200m.
Lord Fandango is another European import whose best performances have be over the middle distances. The Archie Alexander trained five year old has been placed once from four start this campaign but didn’t shirk his task last start when seventh to Master Of Arts in the Group 3 Manion Cup over 2400m at Rosehill. Is one that could fill a spot in the exotics.
Aloft is a stablemate of the top weight and favourite Almandin and is proven at the distance with a win over two miles at Ascot in England in 2015. The Lloyd Williams owned, Liam Howley trained Aloft has had a very light preparation for the 2018 Sydney Cup with only one lead run which resulted in a win in the Listed Roy Higgins Quality over 2600m at Flemington. Has to be included among the main chances.
Kiwi five year old Zacada was only beaten one length when fifth in the 3200m Auckland Cup at Ellerslie in New Zealand but was well beaten in his Sydney Cup lead up run when tenth to Sir Charles Road in the 2600m Group 2 Chairman’s Quality at Randwck. Has been marked as one of the outsiders of the field.
Sir Charles Road
Sir Charles Road put himself into Sydney Cup contention with a resounding win in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality over 2600m at Randwick last Saturday and has been included as one of the main chances on the second line of betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott trained Kiwi stayer has had one try at the 3200m for a sixth in the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie two starts back and a repeat of that performance will see Sir Charles Road figure amongst the prizemoney again.
Gallic Chieftan looks out of his depth on his last start third in a 2400m Bendigo Handicap last Saturday.
Lasqueti Spirit is struggling to find any form and goes into the Sydney Cup on the back of a last start ninth of nine in the Group 1 2400m Tancred Stakes at Rosehill.
Cismontane has had one run at 3200m for a thirteen in last year’s Melbourne Cup and has been marked as one of the outsiders at Ladbrokes.com.au on the back of a last start eighth in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality over 2600m at Randwick last Saturday.
Former Kiwi stayer Patrick Erin, now under the care of Chris Waller, had plenty of supporters last start when sent out as the equal favourite in the Group 3 Manion Cup over 2400m at Rosehill but missed a place when fifth. Likely to take improvement from that run and is at good each way odds.
Peribsen has worked his way up through the classes and did a good job last Saturday at Randwick when he stuck on well after racing on the pace to finish third in the 2600m Group 2 Chairman’s Quality. Not the roughest at good double figure odds.
Admiral Jello will be facing a tough task on his last start seventh in the Chairman’s Quality at Randwick last Saturday.
The Darren Weir trained Ormito could be one of the sneaky lightweight chances and wasn’t disgraced last start when fourth in the Chairman’s Quality. At his previous start the European import ran home to finish second in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup over the same distance as the 3200m Sydney Cup.
First emergency Doukhan gets a run in the Sydney Cup following the early scratching of the Lindsay Park trained Fanatic but is unlikely to threaten. The French import was always off the pace last start when fifth in the Chairman’s Quality at Randwick last Saturday.