Race favourite Big Duke has drawn barrier two in a capacity fourteen-starter 2017 Sydney Cup field for the rerun of the two mile classic at Royal Randwick this Saturday.
Darren Weir’s in-form galloper was the punters’ pick on April 8 in the voided edition of the $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m), the event declared a no race due to the race fall of the ill-fated Almoonqith and Who Shot Thebarman.
Last officially seen winning the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m), Raven’s Pass five-year-old Big Duke retains his spot at the top of Sydney Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the second running.
Chasing a fourth win on the trot, the lightly-raced galloper comes back from 58kg last start to just 52kg on the weekend with jockey Craig Williams on standby for the ride pending the decision of his appeal against a careless riding charge.
The Offer in 2014 was the last Sydney Cup favourite to salute for the punters and also the last stayer to win the two mile feature off a Chairman’s Handicap victory, a double Big Duke chases this weekend.
First past the post in the abandoned Sydney Cup, the Charlie Appleby-trained English raider Polarisation is back again along with stablemate Penglai Pavilion who crossed third that day.
The Godolphin-raced duo are being kept safe in betting again with Polarisation drawn gate eight, into six with the two emergencies out, and Penglai Pavilion in the outside alley.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown is back aboard Polarisation on 51.5kg after his second Sydney Cup victory following success aboard Mr. Prudent back in 2001.
Dual Sydney Cup winning hoop Kerrin McEvoy is on the stablemate and looking for successive wins in the two mile showdown after riding Gallante to victory in 2016.
Despite being involved in the race fall a fortnight ago, Chris Waller’s veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman is in the mix again carrying the 57kg top weight in the form of Blake Shinn.
Waller, trained ran the Sydney Cup quinella in 2015, has also re-accepted for Libran and Kinema.
Stuart Webb has also accepted for his Adelaide Cup winner over the two miles Annus Mirabilis, the six-year-old out to atone for his last (13th) to Tally in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) from March 25.
A new jockey is yet to be confirmed for the dour stayer however after his hoop in the discarded Sydney Cup, where Annus Mirabilis crossed fourth, Katelyn Mallyon decided to take rides in Caulfield over Randwick this weekend.
“He was only three or four lengths [off Polarisation],” Webb told The Daily Telegraph.
“I took confidence from the no-race and I took confidence that he won easily in the Adelaide Cup.
“But I am mindful he has now had an Adelaide Cup, a Sydney Cup and now has had two trips away and we’re fronting up again.”
The editions to the field are the Lindsay Park-trained duo of Boom Time and Harlem along with Lee Curtis’s Crown Oaks winning filly Lasqueti Spirit.
Bobby El-Issa gets the ride on the sole three-year-old in the mix as Lasqueti Spirit looks to improve on a gallant last start third to the Kiwi Bonneval in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m).
John Sargent’s Melbourne Cup hopeful Rock On (barrier 3) and the David Brideoake-trained Self Sense (barrier four) are the two Sydney Cup emergencies needing a scratching to make the starting line-up in Saturday’s major.