Big Duke will take his place in re-scheduled 2017 Sydney Cup

By: Mark Mazzaglia
April 11th, 2017

The Darren Weir trained stayer Big Duke is set to take his place in the re-scheduled Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) which will now be run on April 22 at Randwick.

Big Duke, above, is set to take his place in the re-scheduled Sydney Cup at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Big Duke, above, is set to take his place in the re-scheduled Sydney Cup at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Big Duke was sent out as the $2.60 favourite for the Sydney Cup last Saturday but the feature two miler was abandoned mid race after the Lindsay Park trained Almoonqith and the Chris Waller’s veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman fell just past the winning post on the first lap of the track.

Racing New South Wales stewards declared the Sydney Cup a no-race and Racing NSW along with the Australian Turf Club have made arrangements for the Sydney Cup to be re-run on Saturday week.

Big Duke’s senior owners Australian Bloodstock’s representative Luke Murrell confirmed via twitter that their promising stayer will still get his chance to win a Sydney Cup.

“Big Duke will run in the Sydney Cup April 22nd @ Randwick,” Murrelll tweeted.

Godolphin’s visiting stayers Penglai Pavilion and Polarisation are still in the mix to have another attempt at winning the Sydney Cup and Charlie Appleby assistant trainer James Ferguson said that he will see how the horses progress after having completed the 3200m last Saturday.

Polarisation was actually first across the finish line after Corey Brown didn’t receive the message that the race was being called off and Penglai Pavilion with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle also completed the course to finish unofficially third.

“James Ferguson (assistant trainer) said both horses seem fine (Sunday), but we will monitor them this week before deciding whether to run. There will be no rush,” Appleby said in a statement.

“This is not an ideal situation, but we are taking a serious look at having another crack at the race.

“The main consideration is the horses themselves. If they are bouncing again by Friday, then there is every chance they will run on April 22.

“If they are not, then we will bring them back home to the UK and wait for the Melbourne spring.”

The new Sydney Cup field will be limited to fourteen runners, firstly made up of horses from the original field who want to go around again plus supplementary entries to make up the numbers.

“We wanted to give all entrants a chance to compete for the $2 million and we believe 22 April strikes a balance between varying views of owners and trainers, whilst achieving a competitive field size for punters and racegoers,” ATC chief executive Darren Pearce said.

A statement from Racing New South Wales was released explaining the new conditions of the re-programmed Sydney Cup.

“Weights for the race will be the same as those which applied to the original final acceptors on Tuesday, 4 April 2017. Any supplementary entries will be weighted by the Racing NSW handicapping panel with a limit weight of 51.5kg being applied,” the statement read.

“The closing date for supplementary entries is midday on Monday, 17 April 2017 with race acceptances due by 9am on Wednesday, 19 April 2017.

“A $15,000 payment will be made to all horses that faced the starter on Saturday, 8 April 2017 and do not start on Saturday, 22 April 2017.

“Further, a $4,000 payment will be made to the connections of all horses that faced the starter in the no-race on Saturday, 8 April 2017 and contest the Sydney Cup on 22 April 2017.”

“We believe running the Sydney Cup two weeks after the no-race is the fairest outcome for all participants with those included in the no-race to receive compensatory payments,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said.

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