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C’est La Guerre has displaced his Lloyd Williams-owned stablemate Mourayan as favourite for Saturday’s Sydney Cup.

The winner of the 2008 New Zealand Derby, C’est La Guerre has won just one race in the three years since but was an eye-catching third in the Chairman’s Handicap last Saturday week.

C’est La Guerre was elevated to $6 favourite on TAB Sportsbet’s market after Wednesday’s acceptances for the Cup (3200m) with a full field of 16 and one emergency declared.

Mourayan and Once Were Wild were at $7 with Hawk Island an $8 chance.

The third of the Williams trio, Adelaide Cup winner, Muir was at $13.

“It seems as if this could be a fast-run Cup in contrast to other years with Once Were Wild and Muir in the race,” TAB’s Glenn Munsie said.

“Both have won distance races by leading all the way – Muir over 3200 metres in the Adelaide Cup and Once Were Wild in the Chairman’s Handicap.

“C’est La Guerre couldn’t get a clear run in the Chairman’s and with genuine speed in the Cup it should suit him.”

Once Were Wild’s win in the Chairman’s (2600m) was her first since she took out the AJC Australian Oaks a year ago.

Such was her form, owner John Singleton had put the Gai Waterhouse-trained four-year-old in the catalogue for the National Broodmare sale in June.

Of the eight horses under the $21 mark, Once Were Wild is the only Australian-bred with C’est La Guerre and Macedonian ($10) from New Zealand nurseries and the rest imported from Europe.

The Chris Waller-trained Hawk Island has proved to be an exceptional wet tracker with six wins from nine starts on heavy ground including Saturday’s JRA Plate (2000m) lugging 61 kilograms.

For the past few years, Waller has been a player at the Tattersalls end-of-year sale for tried horses in England.

Of the 23 horses who have so far raced in Australia, 22 have won with 9000 guineas purchase Hawk Island emerging with a win at his second start here.

“It cost more to get him here than to buy him,” Waller said.

“I was very proud of him on Saturday and if it’s wet again, he has to be right in it.”

He may not get his wish with Sydney’s latest forecast revised for mild conditions continuing throughout the week.


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