Last year’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Criterion has been given the top weight of 58.5kg for the 2016 Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 9, day two of ‘The Championships’.
Since winning the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick during the 2015 ‘The Championships’, Criterion was able to win the Group 1 $400,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10.
The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained five year old stallion then went on to run second to Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley followed by a third to Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Second top weight for the Sydney Cup with 58kg is the Murray Baker trained Kiwi stayer Mongolian Khan who hasn’t started since winning the 2015 Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
Mongolian Khan was set to start as one of the favourites for the Melbourne Cup but was struck down with a severe case of colic and had to miss the remainder of the Spring Carnival.
2015 Sydney Cup quinella, the Chris Waller trained Grand Marshall and Who Shot Thebarman are again set for the Sydney Autumn Carnival two miler.
Grand Marshal is up 2kg on last year’s winning effort to 54kg while Who Shot Thebarman has 56kg, an extra 1.5kg to carry this year.
Waller also has his Victoria Derby winner Preferment prominent in the weights, and has been allocated 55.5kg.
Since winning the 2014 Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington, Preferment has claimed the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick and the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during the 2015 Spring Carnival.
Other prominent stayers towards the top of weights are the Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Our Ivanhowe with 57kg, the John O’Shea trained Group 1 winner Hartnell with 56kg and the Hayes and Dabernig trained pair of Almoonqith at 54.5kg and Rising Romance at 53kg.
While early Sydney Cup $7 favourite, 2015 Group 1 Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind, will have to carry 52kg.
The first acceptances for the 2016 Sydney Cup are due on Tuesday, March 8, with the final field to be released on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
Early 2016 Sydney Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $7 Gust Of Wind, $8 Preferment, $9 Our Ivanhowe, Who Shot Thebarman, $10 Almoonqith, $11 Mongolian Khan, $13 Hartnell, Magic Hurricane, $15 Criterion, Libran, $17 Arab Dawn, Grand Marshall, $21 Dibayani, Excess Knowledge, Real Love.