Progressive stayer Grand Marshal absolutely stormed home late to score a narrow victory over stablemate Who Shot Thebarman in the 2015 Sydney Cup at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Pre-race favourite Hartnell took up the running in the early stages of the Sydney Cup and had a fairly easy time of it in the lead, while Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman were both settled towards the tail of the field.
Hong Kong galloper Dominant made a strong charge coming around the bend and he was the first horse to challenge Hartnell, but Who Shot Thebarman made a strong run on the rail and he looked like the winner at the 200 metre mark.
The rail has been the place to be all day, but Grand Marshal defied the pattern of the day to absolutely storm down the outside and get his nose in front of his stablemate in one of the most thrilling finishes in Sydney Cup history.
Veteran jockey Jim Cassidy was unable to pick up a ride at Royal Randwick on Doncaster Mile and he was delighted to show that he still has what it takes to ride at the highest level of racing and dedicated the victory to his family.
“It is a great thrill,” Cassidy said.
“I have to thank my wife Vickie and my girls.
“I wasn’t here riding last week and to come out in my first ride of The Championships and win the Cup on this little horse.
“I’ve had about six rides on him for three wins and now a Sydney Cup, I am very thrilled.
“It was nice for Chris to get me back on board and I am very delighted.
“You just have to keep hanging around in this game.
“You can be on top one day and you can be on your but the next, but this game rewards people that hang in there to fight back and I have always been a fighter.”
Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman deliver Waller yet another quinella in a feature race during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but the leading Sydney trainer admitted after the race that during the run he thought Hartnell would be very tough to beat.
“Obviously the favourite was in front and he looked to be travelling quiet comfortably in a good rhythm and I thought that we was going to be hard to beat,” Waller said.
“I could see Who Shot Thebarman getting a dream run following Protectionist and coming up on his inside and then to see him storm down the outside was pretty good.
“It is a great feeling when you win any race, but when you come for a Sydney Cup it is something special especially with two stablemates fighting it out.”
Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist was pulled up by jockey Craig Williams and finished more than 20 lengths behind the winner, while Ken Keys-trained Like A Carousel produced the best performance of his career to date to finish third.