Kerrin McEvoy has been awarded the Sydney Cup ride on favourite Permit after the British gelding was allocated 53.5kg when the final field was announced this morning.
It will be the first time McEvoy has ridden the Chris Waller-trained horse and he will replace the suspended Corey Brown who had an appeal against a careless riding offence dismissed on Friday.
Permit earned favouritism for the $500,000 Group 1 event (3200m) on the back of recent good form and will chase a third consecutive victory when running from barrier three this Saturday at Royal Randwick Racecourse.
The five-year-old won by a head over precedence in the NE Manion Cup in late March and then backed it up a fortnight later to take top honours ahead of Older Than Time in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality at Randwick.
He is one of three Waller trained horses today named to contest the time-honoured event, with 2011 winner Stand To Gain and Hawk Island also named in the 16-horse field.
Niwot was second favourite in betting markets before the field was named today and the seven-year-old will get a good look at Permit on Saturday after drawing one barrier inside the race favourite (2).
Trained by John Hawkes and sons Michael and Wayne, the gelding will carry two more kilograms than Permit (55.5kg) and will be ridden by regular jockey Dwayne Dunn.
The winner of eight of 27 starts has looked promising this preparation and will appreciate some lesser quality competition after running fourth to Manighar in high class Ranvet Stakes and BMW fields.
Former Melbourne Cup winner Efficient has been declared as the topweight (58kg) but the eight-year-old may not line up after being scratched from April 14’s Chairman’s Quality when found by veternarians to be grade one lame.
Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy said the son of Zabeel would have to face a vet check on Friday to be confirmed as a starter in the feature race.
“Two vets agreed he had grade one to two lameness last time which is not too serious,” Murrihy said.
“I understand he has gait peculiarities and he will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness.”
Leading trainer Gai Waterhouse has two horses in the field with Tommy Berry set to ride Older Than Time from barrier 14 and Once Were Wild to start from barrier 11.
The Sydney Cup is one of the features on a bumper Randwick card this Saturday that will also see an allstar clash between Americain, Manighar and More Joyous in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).