Jockeys Kerrin McEvoy and Corey Brown will be instructed to take up forward positions on Godophin’s visiting stayers Penglai Pavilion and Polarisation in the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on the second day of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
Newmarket trainer Charlie Appleby’s assistant James Ferguson is looking for a true staying test and he thinks his two English stayers are tough enough to test out the fourteen horse strong Sydney Cup field.
“They’ll go forward. We’ll try to keep it as simple as we can. Whether one goes in front of the other, we’re not bothered. We’d like it to be a gallop if we can and use that to our advantage,” Ferguson said.
“Corey Brown and Kerrin McEvoy are far more experienced in this game than I am and they know exactly how the race is going to be run. The advice that we’ll give though is go forward and don’t let anything dominate you.
Ferguson is happy with the way his two horses have settled into the Australian environment and isn’t concerned that Polarisation had to miss a run in last Saturday’s Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick because of a minor superficial leg injury.
It hasn’t pegged him back at all. The plan all along was to run in the Sydney Cup and not necessarily to run in the Chairman’s. We were running him there because we could win another race and he comes to hand very quickly,” Ferguson said.
“On Saturday you’ll see he has a very slim profile and doesn’t take that much work.”
“The horses love it here. They thrive on a flat surface. It’s a completely different environment for them.
“The main thing just to get them fit and keep them ticking over. We’re really looking forward to running them and I think they’ll run well. They have settled in well and I can’t ask for much more.”
Penglai Pavilion hasn’t raced since finishing eleventh in the Group 1 €350,000 Prix Royal-Oak (3100m) at Saint Cloud in France on October 23 last year but was a winner at his previous start in a 3621m Handicap at Newmarket in England on September 17.
While Polarisation has been out of the winner’s stall since his win at Hamilton Park in England in August 2015 and hasn’t been to the races since finishing fourth in a 3000m Handicap at Doncaster in England in September last year.
Penglai Pavilion is the better fancied of the Appleby trained Sydney Cup runners and is marked at $10 at Ladbrokes.com.au with Polarisation listed as a $15 chance.
The Darren Weir trained Big Duke dominates the market order at $2.80 with his nearest rival being the Chris Waller trained Who Short Thebarman and Robert Hickmott’s Assign who share the second line of betting at $7.