Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir doesn’t consider the 3200m of the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup at Randwick on Saturday a problem for his up and coming stayer Big Duke.
Weir is looking for his first Group 1 win in Sydney on day two of ‘The Championships‘ with Big Duke who earned Sydney Cup favouritism with a two lengths last start win in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick last Saturday and the extra 600m this week is no concern for the Melbourne Cup winning trainer.
“Not on the way he ran through the line Saturday,” Weir told Racing New South Wales News.
Big Duke was dominant at the finish of the Chairman’s Handicap with 58kg on his back and Weir can see it as a great advantage dropping back to 52kg in ‘The Championships’ feature two mile race.
“He has come a long way in a short time but he gets a big weight drop from 58kg to 52kg which is a big plus,” Weir said.
“He has done well since and the horse has had a great preparation for a race like this. He has got plenty of miles in his legs and has drawn a good gate so there’ll be no excuses.”
“He won’t have to do much this week, just have a stride around Thursday morning to stretch the legs.”
Big Duke is chasing his fourth win on the trot and prior to his win in the Chairman’s Handicap was successful in the Group 3 $200,000 Launceston Cup (2400m) at Launceston on February 22 and won on protest the Group 3 $150,000 Irresistible Pools & Spas N E Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on March 18.
Big Duke has drawn barrier five in the fourteen horse Sydney Cup field with Craig Williams in the saddle again after being on board for his last two wins.
The Sydney Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Big Duke as the $2.70 favourite ahead of last start Sellwood Stakes winner Assign at $7 and the Chris Waller trainer top weight Who Shot Thebarman at $8.