John O’Shea’s last start ATC Cup winner Malice is leading the early markets for the big Group 3 Boxing Day race in Sydney on Monday, tipped as the one to beat in this year’s Summer Cup.
After the notable non-acceptance of Group 1 winner Stratum Star for the Royal Randwick feature, a field of eight stayers are set to face off in the $150,000 Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) on Monday afternoon.
Current markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the handicap clash have Godolphin galloper Malice as the $3.70 favourite after his quarter-length win in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill over the same metres on December 3.
There is no rise in weights for the Teofilo six-year-old going into the Summer Cup and he carries the same 56.5kg as he did last start with James Doyle retaining the ride from a gun barrier two draw.
Malice also won the 2014 ATC Cup and his win in that again this season was his first since.
Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller has accepted for two of his original three Summer Cup entries saddling-up Amovatio and Beyond Thankful from barriers six and four respectively over the long weekend.
Brenton Avdulla, who won the Wyong Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Stakes on Thursday aboard the short-priced favourite Egyptian Symbol, rides the 58kg top-weight Amovatio.
The six-year-old Al Maher gelding hasn’t won a race since the Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) back in late April and is also as yet untested over further than a mile.
He ran a brave sixth in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) last weekend at the Randwick track however and has earned a shot over more metres in the Summer Cup.
Stablemate Beyond Thankful is better weighted getting in on 54.5kg for jockey Glyn Schofield, the Whipper seven-year-old a graduate of Randwick’s Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) run in the wet on December 17.
Runner-up the start before to Malice in the ATC Cup, Beyond Thankful could only manage to cross sixth over the mile and a half carting 57.5kg and should appreciate coming back in distance and weight.
Christmas Cup winning veteran Destiny’s Kiss also takes his place in the Summer Cup field chasing a second Sydney stakes win on the trot.
An eight-year-old son of Power Of Destiny, the Joe Pride-trained galloper improved on a fourth to Malice in the ATC Cup to win his latest run.
He has three wins over 2000m, but will need to be at his best not to find the drop in distance too short after taking out the 2400m black-type by over a length and a half on a Heavy (8) track last Saturday.
There’s also been early money for a Summer Cup win by another seven-year-old in the mix, Red Excitement, who was last seen running third to Sweet Redemption in the Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m) at the start of the month.
That followed the Gerald Ryan-trained gelding’s third to Religify in the November Handicap (1400m), before which he won first-up at Canterbury carting 60kg to victory.
Red Excitement looks rock hard fit after a winning Rosehill trial on December 20 and only needs to extend out over the 2000m to enjoy his first win over greater than 1600m.
The Summer Cup brings to a close a stellar Christmas long weekend of racing in Sydney that also includes the always-popular $100,000 December Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.