European Imports Invade Sydney Cup Field

By: Ryan Clark
April 19th, 2011

The Sydney Cup field is yet to be finalised but if the top horses accept as they are expected to it will be a northern hemisphere invasion over 3200m.

Chris Waller leads the way with imported horses but he’s not the only one who has looked further abroad to find chances for the Sydney Cup and ultimately the Melbourne Cup later in the spring.

Hawk Island flew right into contention last week with a tremendous victory in the JRA Plate carrying 61 kilograms across a heavy track.

In the Sydney Cup the task will be slightly less with an expected 57kgs but that is across an increased distance.

Hawk Island is another success story for Waller who a few years ago developed a plan to buy tried English stayers to contest the longer Australian events rather than try and breed locally.

“I was rapt with Hawk Island on Saturday and he has come through the race very well,” Waller said.

“It was basically a final gallop for him before the Cup.

“Once the imported horses adapt to our way of racing they seem to do well and it’s a big thing to be able to get the bloodlines.

Hawk Island is by Hawk Wing out of a Sadler’s Wells mare and you can’t buy that in Australia.

“You have to get horses out of daughters of Sadler’s Wells but we are getting the direct line.

“We just don’t breed stayers in Australia so it’s good to be able to bring these ones over.”

There will be a trio of chances for Waller in the Sydney Cup with Stand To Gain and Strike One both set to run better over the longer trip.

“Both need the two miles to help them get through what could be a slow track,” he said.

The early favourite though comes from the Lloyd Williams stable with Mourayan spear heading another impressive three pronged attack.

Muir and C’est La Guerre are both well favoured in early betting giving Williams plenty of confidence for both the Sydney Cup and Melbourne Cup later in the year.

Williams shares a similar strategy in purchasing overseas stayers, however he went directly to Coolmore Stud in Ireland rather than going through public auctions.

With so much European talent already on Australian soil it will take a brave local horse to beat the international invaders throughout the long distance events in 2011.

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