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Archedemus has opened favourite for Friday's Scone Cup

The Joe Pride-trained Archedemus is the early favourite to win the Listed Scone Cup despite the six-year-old gelding drawing wide in a capacity field.

The former Gwenda Markwell-trained Archedemus finished a close fourth after leading in his defence of the Group Three Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1500m) at Rosehill last month in his first start for the Pride stable.

Archedemus features among a field of 16 plus four emergencies for Friday’s Scone Cup (1600m) and has drawn barrier 18.

Friday’s meeting will be staged at its traditional home track in the NSW Hunter Valley but the second day of the annual two-day carnival on Saturday will this year be held in town at Rosehill.

Jockeys in NSW are split into three regions during the coronavirus pandemic, so Saturday’s metropolitan-class meeting is to be held at Rosehill so the city group of jockeys can compete.

The Gosford Cup and Hawkesbury Cup Saturday meetings have been conducted on city tracks in the past month.

Archedemus was at $4.40 on Wednesday with the Godolphin-owned Phaistos at $5.

The James Cummings-trained Phaistos, to be ridden by Grant Buckley, is coming off a last-start win on the Kensington track at Randwick over 1400m while the John O’Shea-trained Live And Free is also among the market leaders at $5.50 after a first-up second in the Hawkesbury Cup on April 25.

Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller has three Scone Cup acceptors – Sambro, Satono Rasen, Black On Gold – as does NSW premiership leader Kris Lees who has the three highest-weighted horses in the race.

The Lees-trained Sixties Groove has topweight of 61kg and barrier five while stablemates Big Duke and Chief Ironside both have 58.5kg and have drawn barriers two and eight, respectively.

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