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Big Duke is more than likely to open as favourite again for the Sydney Cup

Big Duke already has a unique place in the Darren Weir stable as the premier Melbourne trainer’s first Sydney winner.

He gets a second chance to give Weir a first Group One win in Sydney in take two of the $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

His jockey Craig Williams was one of those who realised the race had been called off halfway through on April 8 and Weir said the horse had not had a hard run.

Six horses finished the race which was abandoned because Almoonqith suffered a fatal injury and Who Shot Thebarman also came down with the former still on the track and the latter riderless.

Big Duke was the Sydney Cup favourite after his wins in the Manion Cup and Chairman’s Handicap and Weir sees no reason why he should not be at the top of proceedings again.

“He was pulled out at the 1000 (metres) so he didn’t have a hard time,” Weir said.

“We took him home to Ballarat and he’s fine.

“I’m glad they are running the race again.”

The two visiting Godolphin horses, Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion who finished first and third of the six who kept going in the no-race, are expected to line up again.

Trainer Chris Waller’s three stayers, Libran, Kinema and Who Shot Thebarman will all start.

“Who Shot Thebarman is fine. He was as good as gold after two days,” Waller said.

“Brenton Avdulla will ride Libran with Hugh Bowman suspended.”

Lightweight jockey Bobby El-Issa will get his chance on ATC Oaks third placegetter Lasqueti Spirit in the race which has a minimum handicap of 51.5kg.

New nominations for the Cup will be taken on Monday.

 
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