Mark Rhoden, the man behind our successful NSW Winners membership, brings you his thoughts on one of the big races at Randwick on Saturday.
Read on for his Group 1 Sydney Cup preview.
Should be a reasonable pace for a 3200m race. Midterm, Vengeur Masque, The Taj Mahal and perhaps Brimham Rocks can go forward, with Dubhe and Semari from low draws looking to sit just off the speed. Red Cardinal, Big Duke and Yogi will likely get back from their wider gates.
Runner By Runner
#1 The Taj Mahal (Liam Howley / James McDonald)
Barrier 8, 56kg
Can improve on a drier track but needs to find his very best to win.
#2 Sound (Michael Moroney / Damian Lane)
Barrier 13, 55.5kg
Showed some improvement last start. Could win if he found his best overseas form.
#3 Patrick Erin (Chris Waller / Glyn Schofield)
Barrier 5, 54.5kg
Has been poor on very wet tracks at his last two starts. Could improve on a drier surface.
#4 Red Cardinal (Kris Lees / Jason Collett)
Barrier 18, 54kg
May be at very best on wet tracks, but has won twice at 3200m and suited back to handicap conditions here.
#5 Big Duke (Kris Lees / Brenton Avdulla)
Barrier 21, 54kg
Racing very well and set to peak here, but likely to get well back from his gate.
#6 Vengeur Masque (Michael Moroney / Damien Oliver)
Barrier 16, 54kg
Had a torrid run last week and has a good jockey change. Has raced well at 3200m but likely to fall short here.
#7 Sir Charles Road (O’Sullivan & Scott / Andrew Adkins)
Barrier 20, 53kg
Solid effort last week and raced well in this last year. Likely to get back from gate.
#8 Yogi (Maher & Eustace / Craig Williams)
Barrier 15, 53kg
Ticking over nicely this preparation and has won at 3200m. Can be competitive.
#9 Brimham Rocks (Chris Waller / Tommy Berry)
Barrier 14, 53kg
Has blinkers on and may go better on a drier track.
#10 Dubhe (Charlie Appleby / Kerrin McEvoy)
Barrier 4, 52.5kg
Lightly raced stayer off a big win in Dubai. Looks beautifully placed with 52.5kg and drawn to get every chance.
#11 Midterm (Liam Howley / Jamie Kah)
Barrier 9, 52.5kg
Strong win last start, will race on the pace again. Unknown at 3200m.
#12 Glory Days (Bill Thurlow / Corey Brown)
Barrier 19, 52kg
In great form in NZ, although got to the right part of the track last start. Probably gets back here.
#13 Zacada (Baker & Forsman / Kathy O’Hara)
Barrier 12, 52kg
Form reads poorly but narrowly beaten at 100/1 in this race last year.
#14 Gallic Chieftain (Archie Alexander / Glen Boss)
Barrier 7, 51.5kg
Drawn for a good run. First try at the trip but is peaking at the right time.
#15 Rondinella (James & Wellwood / Sam Clipperton)
Barrier 1, 51kg
Another one drawn for a soft run. Kept on very well in the Tancred and has a chance here.
#16 Shraaoh (Chris Waller / Jay Ford)
Barrier 3, 51kg
Beaten on his merits last week but in good form and drawn for a good run.
#17 Semari (Busuttin & Young / Tim Clark)
Barrier 6, 51kg
Good effort at her first attempt at a staying trip last week. Will get a good run.
#18 Top Of The Range (Michael Moroney / Michael Dee)
Barrier 17, 51kg
Good run in the Adelaide Cup, but this is harder.
#19 Rodrico (Bjorn Baker / James Innes Jr)
Barrier 10, 51kg
Didn’t get much room last start. Probably needs a heavy track to have any chance here.
#20 Doukhan (Kris Lees / Andrew Gibbons)
Barrier 2, 51kg
Grinding stayer who loves 3200m but needs heavy to show his best.
#21 Fairlight (Kris Lees / TBC)
Barrier 11, 51kg
Has some upside but outclassed at this stage.
Charlie Appleby is becoming a master of identifying the right horse at the right stage of its career to pick off our big two-mile handicaps. Dubhe fits the profile perfectly and if he runs up to the form he showed last start in Dubai, he looks thrown in with 52.5kg and has to be clear top pick.
Gallic Chieftain is hitting his peak at the right time and is well drawn, as is Rondinella who raced well in the Tancred. Big Duke’s preparation has been perfect and he’s set to go very well, but the barrier means he’ll probably get well back.
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