Tough staying mare Etah James gave jockey Glen Boss a Group 1 winning double with her win in the 2020 Group 1 $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick today.
Boss took out the previous race, the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Australian Oaks (2400m) on the James Cummings trained Colette, and another masterful ride saw the in-form hoop find the Group 1 winner’s stall for the second time on Day Two of The Championships.
Etah James was also the third winner on the day for Boss and the second on for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable after they combined with their smart filly Away Game to win the Group 2 $500,000 Heineken 3 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m).
Even though Etah James was having her first run for the Maher and Eustace stable and her first run in five weeks, Boss was confident that the mare would run out a strong 3200m of the Sydney Cup.
“Full credit to Ciaron and his team because he has just had her long enough to put a bit of polish on her. I’ve been riding her work and I trialled her here in a very fast trial and I said this is flying this thing,” Boss said.
“Her work on Tuesday was exceptional actually. I said to Ciaron this morning this will be the best 30-1 shot I ride in a Group 1 race. I wasn’t expecting to beat the English horse to be honest but I was expecting to be in the 1-2-3.”
“When I saw that most of them were off the bridle and chasing at the 600m and I was coming up underneath and I thought I’m going to run very well. I tell you what that last sort of 400m felt like an eternity because we were going so slow.”
Boss said that Etah James handled the heavy track conditions and the strong winds pretty good, but admitted that no records were going to be broken.
“It’s testing conditions. It’s a heavy track but when it’s half starting to dry out they grab hold of you a bit. It’s not like a wet track where they go in and out. The ground is grabbing them a bit and it’s very testing for them. It’s very very slow. It’s nice to be here with a good book of rides and get the job done,” Boss said.
Boss settled Etah James in the middle of the in the middle stages and starting to move into the race at the 600m and had the mare into the clear at the top of the straight.
Etah James ($14) was the strongest to the line to record a long head win over The Chosen One ($18) with Raheen House ($6) a further half a length back in third place.
The English stayer Young Rascal was sent out as the $2.90 favourite but failed to run out a strong 3200m after being given the run of the race by Tom Marquand and finished in seventh position, six and a quarter lengths from the winner.