Trainer Tony McEvoy loves a Country Cup and he looks well placed to add another to his resume when Sysmo lines up in this Sunday’s Sale Cup (1600m). Sysmo, who won last year’s Seymour Cup, will be out to McEvoy back-to-back victories in the race after he prepared Mouro to victory in last year’s edition. Sysmo is rated a $5.50 in early markets, just behind Sonntag ($4.40) and Pin Your Hopes ($4.80). Sonntag will be having his first start since winner last season’s Queensland Derby whilst Pin Your Hopes is coming of a fifth placing in the recent Seymour Cup behind Bel Thor. Flyingconi, who finished fourth in last year’s race, is back for another shot with his form just as solid this time around. The $11.00 on offer for him makes him the value runner of the race.
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1. SONNTAG – C Schofield (8) 58.5kgs
This former Darley galloper blossomed under the guidance of Caulfield trainer Henry Dwyer last campaign and in the space of five starts, of which he won three, went from a Hillside Maiden to being crowned Qld Derby winner. Returns to racing here off a four month spell and has been prepared for his comeback with two trials, the most recent of which was a solid hit-out over 1550m. First up over a mile with 58.5kgs, giving all other runners at least 2.5kgs, will be a challenge, but he meet each one put before with relative ease last time in and can’t be dismissed.
2. SYSMO – K McEvoy (14) 56kgs
Returned to racing off a spell up in Sydney where he was closing nicely from mid-field over the final stages of the 1400m Open class race which was won by Aomen who led throughout. Won the Seymour Cup (1600m) second up off a break and there was a lot to like about the way he was warming up late last start. Draw is a concern by is good enough to overcome that obstacle.
3. LIGHTENUFF – J Beriman (5) 54.5kgs
The 7yo gelding also makes his return to racing off a spell and looked ready for a forward showing judging by his five length Cranbourne trial win a week ago. Has filled a place four times from six fresh runs so trainer Ken Keys knows how to get him ready fresh and whilst his best form is over a slightly longer journey than this from gate five, he can run a cheeky race.
4. FLYING HUSSLER – N Rose (9) 54kgs
Made his return to racing after a break of nineteen weeks and failed to make an impression from the back of the field in a 1300m BM 90 at Seymour last week. Won the Benalla Cup (2024m) last year but form since has been average, not filling a place in seven runs since then.
5. PIN YOUR HOPES – K Mallyon (2) 54kgs
Didn’t have much luck two starts back when seventh (3 lengths) behind Under The Louvre and Lucky Hussler in the Listed Tavern Stakes, a race that has proved a very good form reference, and off that effort, the 5yo was sent out one of the leading chances in last week’s Seymour Cup. Secured a nice run midfield before tracking into the race well wider out as they swung for home, making his run home Tanby, who was no help laying in, to finish fifth (2.8 lengths) behind Bel Thor. That was the first time in six starts he had missed filling a place over a mile but can bounce back here from a good draw.
6. VIZHAKA – R Maloney (4) 54kgs
Crossed from a wide gate to find an on-pace position last start and stuck on solidly to win the Bairnsdale Cup (1600m) by a head from Morant and Snow Cover. That was his second win from his past four starts and the 7yo gelding has never raced better. A good draw here should see him take up a handy position from the jump and is sure to give them something to run down from.
7. FLYINGCONI – I Gundogdu (1) 54kgs
Won the Mildura Cup three starts back in convincing fashion (3.5 lengths) before running fourth (2.8 lengths) to arguably the most in-form horse in the country at the moment, Trust In A Gust when coming to town to contest an Open class race over 1400m – where the winner had only 1.5kgs more to carry. He then settled a long way back in the Bairnsdale Cup (1600m) last week, before finishing at a rate of knots to claim fifth (1.7 lengths) behind Vizhaka. Cranbourne trainer Shea Eden has the 7yo in top form at the moment and can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to run another big race here.
8. CHILE EXPRESS – M Payne (12) 54kgs
Dropped back to last first up at Benalla three weeks ago, before closing steadily to run eighth (4.9 lengths) behind Petrify in the BM 90 (1206m). Drops from 57kgs on that run, will take obvious benefit for the hit-out, and whilst it’s closing in on a year since he has last won a race, the Thorn Park gelding has placed in Open company several time since. Will be giving them a start here.
9. MORANT – C Symons (5) 54kgs
From sixty starts, he took his total number of placings to an unbelievable and frustrating twenty with yet another minor placing when second to Vizhaka in the Bairnsdale Cup (1600m) two starts back. He then went to Caulfield and got back in a leader dominated race when second to last in the field of thirteen behind London Stripe. Will be in the mix but is a hard horse to take with confidence.
10. CAPTAIN FANCYPANTS – (11) 54kgs
There’s not much to go on from the three runs this 6yo gelding has had back from a spell. He finished a long last at Caulfield two starts back behind Kenjorwood before settling closer to the speed in last week’s Cranbourne Cup, but just battling in the straight, finally crossing the line in twelfth place, five lengths behind Bel Thor. Couldn’t have him here on form this prep.
11. WHITE UNIVERSE – D Smith (3) 54kgs
Was well beaten in three runs during a short autumn campaign and considering those efforts, it wasn’t surprising to see him start 100/1 for his return at Ballarat three weeks ago in a BM 70. From a wide gate he settled just off midfield and stuck in well in the run home, better than his price suggested he was going to anyway, and finished sixth (2.5 lengths) form the winner Lord Da Vinci. Carried a whopping 64kgs first and only 54kgs here, but that indicates just what a step up in class he is facing.
12. TYCOON ROB – J Bayliss (10) 54kgs
We haven’t seen this Doug Harrison trained galloper since, from an on-pace position, he weakened badly in the run home to finish seventh (6.6 lengths) in a BM 90 (2040m) behind Count Encosta nine weeks ago. It was a similar story at his previous start as well and would think this is well out of his league.
13. WAIROA – R Bayliss (7) 54kgs
Stuck on soundly two starts back when second to Rock Advantage (3/4 of a length) in a BM 70 at Sale before getting shuffled back in the field approaching the turn when contesting a BM 84 at Caulfield at his following start. Had to wait for is run as the runners were making their move last start and he can be forgiven to a degree for his tenth placing behind Bring Something. Drops back a lot in distance from that run though (800m) and doubt he’ll have the zip in him that will be required.
14. TANAH LOT – B Higgins (16) 54kgs – SCRATCHED
Settled last and stayed there when resuming off a an eleven month spell as a 100/1 shot in BM 78 at Cranbourne a fortnight ago and given that he has won one race since 2012, will also be well accounted for here as well.
15. RED INCA – B Park (15)
Has performed credibly at two runs back from a spell, finishing fourth in both a Sale BM 78 and more recently, a BM 70 at Cranbourne but, has only won two of twenty-three starts and the most last of them was back in January 2013. Plenty of easier races than this one available to him.
16. STRINGY – M Rodd (13) 54kgs
He rounded out last campaign with two win at this track, in a RST 64 and BM 70 event over 1717m and 1621m respectively before a break of five and a half months and returning to the track with a eighth (3.4 lengths) behind Kincaple Chief in a BM 70 (1500m) at Sandown-Hillside. Fitter, sure, but this would be well out of his league given his overall record.
McEvoy’s record in these races speaks for itself and like the way Sysmo was warming to line first up in a leader dominated race at Randwick first up. Happy to back him at his current price to overcome the wide draw and win here. No excuses here for Pin Your Hopes – not that there were many last start but finds a slightly weaker race then the Seymour Cup and has drawn well. Flyingconi will get a long way back but on his current form – hard to leave him at especially when double figures can be secured. Happy to bet around the toppie with the big weight first up over a mile. His progression last campaign was phenomenal and if he has continued on the same trajectory, he’ll be hard to beat but first up over a mile, with a big weight, if he’s going to be vulnerable this prep, you’d think this would have to be it .
- PIN YOUR HOPES