Rise Up Sydney Cup

Rise Up Sydney Cup

by Bernard Kenny

Kate Waterhouse, ATC Autumn Racing Ambassador

“Entries for the Schweppes Sydney Cup have risen by 25% over the last three years,” says James Ross, the General Manager of Racing, Wagering and International for the Australian Turf Club.

“In 2017 we received 99 nominations with Charlie Appleby winning the Cup with Polarisation, and his second runner Penglai Pavilion in seventh. We received entries from England, Ireland and Japan as well as additional New Zealand nominations,” stated James Ross.

“Last year it was a record 128 nominations, with further international entries. Unfortunately, our international runner Prestwick from Japan was scratched at the barrier, a bitter disappointment for the Silk Horse Club, trainer Yoshinori Muto and champion Hong Kong jockey Joao Moreira.”

However, it was the Auckland Cup and Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman, trained by Chris Waller, who took out last year’s Sydney Cup with a ‘head’ victory over New Zealand visitor Zacada, with Sir Charles Road also from New Zealand in third.

With Who Shot Thebarman retired, will Zacada take his place in the $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup of 3200m on Day 2 of The Championships as horse 13, to be ridden by Kathy O’Hara and carrying 52kg. Sir Charles Road has drawn outside barrier 20 for jockey Andrew Adkins and carries 53kg.

This year entries rose to a record of 130 nominations, including five each from Europe and Japan. New Zealand’s nine entries are headed by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman with Vin de Dance, Zacada and Cutadeel, while Bill Thurlow has the Auckland Cup winner Glory Days.

However, favourite-backers will be eyeing the Charlie Appleby trained Dubhe, to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy carrying 52.5kg. Dubhe is coming off a four-length victory over 3200m at Meydan in early February.

Dubhle won at 1600 and 2000m as a 3, 4yo in Britain, and is 4yo gelding by the highly successful sire Dubawi, from the Irish Oaks winner Great Heavens, being the family of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner and sire Nathaniel and Playful Act, the Ascot Fillies Mile winner.

A highly successful incentive this year has resulted in seven local and international stayers taking their place in the 2019 Schweppes Sydney Cup. All seven have won or been placed in this season’s running of The Metropolitan, Perth Cup, Auckland Cup, Adelaide Cup and NE Manion Cup.

The Australian Turf Club offered the owners and trainers of these winners and placegetters a Schweppes Sydney Cup Bonus of $100,000 to the owners and $50,000 to the trainer if their horse wins or is placed in the 2019 Schweppes Sydney Cup.

The NE Manion Cup second placing Big Duke leads the Sydney Cup Bonus qualifiers for Australian Bloodstock, and is horse 5, to be ridden by Brenton Avdulla. The winner of the NE Manion Cup in 2017, Big Duke is coming off a second in the Tancred Stakes and previously second in the Parramatta Cup.

The winner of the Chairman’s Handicap, ATC St Leger Stakes and Launceston Cup, Big Duke was third to Polarisation in the Schweppes Sydney Cup, second in The Metropolitan and fourth in Rekindling’s Melbourne Cup, all in 2017.

Also from Australian Bloodstock is the Chris Waller trained Shraaoh, who is now placed in all three recent starts including the Chairman’s Handicap, and is to be ridden by Jay Ford, in 16 saddlecloth.

With an outstanding record in staying races, including the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Protectionist, the Australian Bloodstock has the Sky High Stakes and Parramatta Cup winner Red Cardinal to be ridden by Jason Collett, and jockey Andrew Gibbons on the dour stayer Doukhan.

The Auckland Cup winner Glory Days will be ridden by Corey Brown for trainer Bill Thurlow, with the 6yo mare having previously won the Avondale Cup. The Michael Moroney trained Top of The Hill was previously second in the Adelaide Cup, and will be ridden by Michael Dee.

Jockey Jamie Kah retains her ride on Midterm, who she won on in the NE Manion Cup for trainer Liam Howley. The Chris Waller trained Patrick Erin has not won since The Metropolitan in October, is to be ridden by Glyn Schofield, with Tommy Berry riding his Metropolitan placegetter Brimham Rocks.

Premier Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has three runners namely the Australian Bloodstock owner Red Cardinal, Big Duke and Doukhan, plus the emergency Fairlight. Winx’s trainer Chris Waller has three runners including the Australian Bloodstock owned Shraaoh.

In launching the Sydney Cup Bonus, ATC Chairman Mr Matthew McGrath stated “In recent years we have significantly increased prizemoney for the Schweppes Sydney Cup and this bonus system is further recognition of our focus on providing more incentives for stayers and their connections.”

“In 2018 the incentive benefitted not only the Schweppes Sydney Cup by attracting the largest field in over 15 years, but it is also shared value to those race clubs that conduct important pathway races.”