A full field of seventeen runners will contest this year’s $1M Sydney Cup with early favourite for the race being the Gai Waterhouse trained The Offer ($2.80). Connections will be hoping the wet weather continues in Sydney this week after his comprehensive victory on the heavy track last week in the G2 Chairman’s Handicap. The Sydney Cup has been a good race to favourites in recent times with four of the last six editions of the race being taken out by the popular elect. Only two other horses in the race are given a chance according to the market, they being Sertorius ($8) and New Zealand visitor, Who Shot Thebarman ($7.50), who besides The Offer, is the only last start winner in the race.
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1. VOLEUSE DE COEURS – G Boss (16) 58kgs
Returned to racing after finishing tenth in last year’s Melbourne Cup, with a good effort in the Australian Cup (2000m), running fifth (2 ¼ lengths) behind Fiorente. The 5yo mare lined up four weeks later in the G1 BMW (2400m) and was well supported in early betting with the race to be run on a heavy track. She settled at the tail of the field and never raised the hopes of her supporters, finishing fifth (5 lengths) behind Silent Achiever. Fitter, better suited back to the handicap conditions and is the class runner of the race but faces a tough ask with top weight and a poor draw.
2. SERTORIUS – R Maloney (3) 56kgs
He finished on the heels of the place-getter in some smart WFA races before struggling on a heavy track with 59kgs last start in the Chairman’s Handicap. The Galileo gelding gets down to 56kgs here, is drawn well and any improvement in the track will be of benefit to him. Tries the two miles for the first time but this is his sixth run in this campaign and has the class to see it out.
3. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN – J McDonald (11) 56kgs
He made it two wins in a row and four from his last five when racing to victory under 52.5kgs in the G1 Auckland Cup (3200m) six weeks ago. Only a lightly raced 5yo, this will be his tenth start, but showing great ability and is improving with each run. Not having raced for six weeks is a query heading into a two mile race but on recent efforts, reluctant to leave him out.
4. THE OFFER – T Berry (8)
Relished the heavy conditions last week in the G2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) and was strong through the line in defeating Tremec by 2 ¼ lengths. Drops to 55kgs and the two miles should pose little problem for him. He should look the winner at same stage in the straight.
5. BRIGANTIN – C Newitt (6)
Didn’t mind his finishing effort in the G3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) off a six week break, where he was warming up nicely over the final furlong to run sixth (2.2 lengths) behind Entirely Platinum. Not surprisingly, he found his next start, under WFA conditions in the G1 The BMW (2400m), a tough assignment and battled away in the straight to run sixth (5.1 lengths) behind Silent Achiever. That run stands him in good stead for this, seeing him drop 4.5kgs and the run over 2400m would do him the world of good. His capable of a cheeky effort at double-figure odds.
6. EPINGLE – C Williams (12) 54kgs
The 6yo mare won the Launceston (2400m) and Hobart (2400m) Cups in her two starts in Tasmania before a months later, contesting the G3 Percy Sykes (1900m) at Rosehill. She was allowed to settle at the tail of the field before coming wide and finishing well to claim third behind in-form mare Intimate Moment. Never ventured beyond 2400m but does have a second to Sertorius under WFA conditions at that distance and rarely runs a bad race.
7. TUPAC AMARU – K McEvoy (9) 54kgs
The 3yo colt by Street Cry produced a very strong staying performance in last week’s ATC Derby when second to Criterion. He looks like he’ll stay all day and whilst he may not be well weighted against the older horses here, have to highly respect the stable’s decision to have a crack at this race.
8. GONDOKORO – R McLeod (10) 54kgs
Impressive winner of last year’s G1 Qld Derby (2400m) but we haven’t seen much of the son of Zabeel in four runs back from a spell this time in. He finished last in the G1 Ranvet and again in last week’s G3 Manion Cup (2400m) in a field of five. Hard to have on those efforts.
9. LET’S MAKE A DEAL – Z Purton (7) 54kgs
She’s 4yo mare by Red Ransom who finished ok second up in the WFA G1 Australian Cup despite running seventh (3.2 lengths) of nine behind Fiorente. She then lined up in the far more suitable G3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) and was a clear last at the 350m but was warming up nicely late and claimed fourth (1.9 lengths) behind Entirely Platinum. Not surprisingly, but up in grade, under WFA conditions and on a heavy track, she struggled in the G1 The BMW and finished seventh (7 lengths) behind Silent Achiever. Better suited back to handicap conditions and has been competitive against Sertorius in the past. A drier track would help her chance though.
10. OPINION – J Collett (14) 54kgs
Looked like Chris Waller unearthed another classy import when this 5yo won the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) by 2 ¾ lengths over Carlton House however, his three subsequent starts have seen him well accounted for, despite running second twice. He’ll need to make improvement and those efforts to be winning here.
11. HIPPOPUS – J Cassidy (4) 54kgs
He was very good second up from a spell two starts ago in the G3 Neville Sellwood (2000m) and ran Junoob to a head before chasing valiantly last week behind stable-mate The Offer, when third (2.6 lengths) in the G2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m). No match for The Offer late last week and meets him worse at the weights here.
12. TREMEC – C Reith (17) 54kgs
He was in some good form this time last year and won the G2 Chairman’s Handicap but during his spring campaign, looked very ordinary in four starts. He must like Sydney in the autumn though as his two most recent starts have been much better again. He has chased The Offer home in both the Manion Cup (2400m) and last week’s Chairman’s Handicap, finishing 3rd (3 ½ lengths) and 2nd (2 ¼ lengths) respectively. He is getting closer but meets The Offer worse at the weights and hard to see him turning the tables, especially from the outside gate.
13. DESERT JEUNEY – B Avdulla (1) 54kgs
Rounded out last preparation winning three in a row and need his first few runs back from his spell this campaign before he produced a good third in the G3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) behind Entirely Platinum. His two subsequent runs however, the G3 Manion Cup and G2 Chairman’s Handicap, have been his first beyond 2000m and his first on heavy conditions. They’ve resulted in him behind well accounted for in both and with similar conditions expected for this weekend, likely to be the case again here.
14. MACEDONIAN – C Schofield (13) 54kgs
An evergreen 8yo galloper from Peter Moody’s stables, he ran fifth in this race in both 2011 and last year. His most recent form hasn’t been bad – albeit in weaker races, and includes a fifth in the G2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) just over a month ago. He’ll stay and doesn’t mind the sting out of the track but against the quality of this field can see him making it third time lucky.
15. ANGOLA – J Ford (2) 54kgs
He won a BM 90 at Sandown (2100m) two starts back before starting at 100/1 and finishing second to last in the G1 The BMW (2400m) a fortnight ago. Has been competitive in some Listed staying races in the past but should be well accounted for at Group 1 level.
16. LIKE A CAROUSEL – J Bowman (15) 54kgs
He has only won the one race from eighteen stars and that come only four starts ago in a BM 78 (2500m) race at Moonee Valley. Aiming way too high here.
17. FIFTH COLUMN – K O’Hara (5) 54kgs
His won two from twenty – both at Queensland Ipswich track – a maiden and a Class 1 and was beaten close to ten lengths at Doomben at his most recent start three weeks ago. Definitely not.
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Hard to go past the favourite here – even more so if the track is still rated heavy come Saturday. Who Shot Thebarman the danger. Takes a good horse to achieve the results he has in only nine starts. Epingle might be the value runner on an each-way basis. It’s a bit of an unorthodox preparation but she was warming up nicely last start over 1900m. She has some wet form and form around Sertorius in the Spring. Should the track get to dead, Let’s Make A Deal chances increase sharply.
1. THE OFFER
2. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
4. VOLEUSE DE COEURS