A total of 85 of the country’s leading stayers have been included in 2016 Sydney Cup nominations, highlighted by the pending appearance of several previous winners at the highest level of racing at Royal Randwick on Day 2 of The Championships.
Grand Marshal defeated stable mate Who Shot Thebarman in a thrilling conclusion of the race last year and both runners have been included amongst a total of eight 2016 Sydney Cup nominations for Chris Waller.
Grand Marshal has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career so far; posting seven wins and right minors through 28 competitive starts since first appearing on course in Britain in 2012.
Experiencing a huge rise to prominence last autumn, the Dansili gelding placed ninth in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m); progressing to fourth in the Group 3 NE Manion Cup (2400m) and third in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) leading into his Sydney Cup triumph.
Unable to reach the same racing highs through spring, Grand Marshal placed 21st in the Melbourne Cup but ended his campaign a competitive third in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) on November 14th.
A Group 1 winner having taken out the 2014 edition of the Auckland Cup (3200m), Who Shot Thebarman resumed in spring for a credible fifth in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m); progressing to mid-pack finishes in each of the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) leading into his luckless run for eleventh in the Melbourne Cup.
Having returned to winning form in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) on November 14th, the Yamanin Vital is a proven Sydney Cup performer and is sure to lay a great account for himself once more this time.
Gust Of Wind more than stamped herself as one to watch in 2015 and headlines trainer John Sargent’s two 2016 Sydney Cup nominations.
Capping an impressive autumn campaign with a credible fourth in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) and success in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), Gust Of Wind required a few runs and more distance upon resuming in spring.
Placing an impressive fourth in the Caulfield Cup on October 17th, the Darci Brahma mare stepped up to two miles for the first time in the Melbourne Cup and responded with an exceptional performance for sixth.
Godolphin Australia are also set to launch a multi-pronged attack on the major staying race after trainer John O’Shea included a total of six runners in Sydney Cup nominations; headlined by Hartnell and Magic Hurricane.
Hartnell stormed onto the Australian racing scene during the 2015 Autumn Carnival; running second to stable mate Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) before taking out each of the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
Returning to the paddock after finishing fourth in the Sydney Cup, the Authorized gelding resumed in spring for fourth in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) before placing sixth in the Turnbull Stakes.
Running a strong race for fifth in the Cox Plate, Hartnell was hampered for a run in the Melbourne Cup most recently and finished a disappointing fifteenth.
Magic Hurricane failed to finished outside the first three in five spring starts, peaking with success in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 3rd.
Ladbrokes Australia currently rates Who Shot Thebarman a tied $9 favourite in 2016 Sydney Cup betting markets.