Cameron Handicap markets are set for a major reshuffle with early favourite Hooked an unlikely starter.
Trainer John Thompson has confirmed the Tramway Stakes winner will most likely bypass the Newcastle feature on Friday and run a day later in the Group One George Main Stakes at Randwick.
His withdrawal will set the scene for a match-up between two of Sydney’s biggest stables with the next three horses in the market trained by either Gai Waterhouse or Chris Waller.
Waterhouse will run current second favourite Ecuador while Waller has the next three fancies – Sadler’s Lake, Flamingo Star and I’m Imposing.
I’m Imposing, who resumed with a midfield finish in the Chelmsford Stakes, is also entered for the Hill Stakes at Randwick on Saturday and Waller is still weighing up his options.
“It’s 50-50 where we go with him,” Waller said.
“But first-up his sectionals were among the best in the race so he’s come back well.”
Wyong Cup winner Beyond Thankful will be Waller’s lone runner in Friday’s $175,000 Newcastle Cup (2300m) while Waterhouse will launch a two-pronged bid with The Offer and Zee Zeely.
The Offer raised hopes he could be on the way back to the form that delivered him the 2014 Sydney Cup when he followed a dominant first-up win in the Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury with a closing fifth in the Wyong Cup.
Lightly raced English import Zee Zeely earned his first stakes test in Australia with a fighting last-start second to Maurus who franked the form with his Kingston Town Stakes placing at Rosehill on Saturday.
“He’s a very good stayer in the making,” Waterhouse said of Zee Zeely.
Godolphin has scratched Magic Hurricane from the Newcastle Cup to run at Randwick.