English stayer Polarisation can secure a place in the Sydney Cup field with a win in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
The Charlie Appleby trained, Godolphin owned Polarisation is weighted close to the minimum with 50kg for the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on Saturday week and a win in the Chairman’s Handicap would see the five year old gelding exempt from the ballot for Randwick two miler on day two of ‘The Championships’.
Polarisation hasn’t raced since finishing fourth over 3000m in an Open Handicap at Doncaster in England on September 9 last year but assistant trainer James Ferguson said that the gelding was fit and ready to perform.
“He’s settled in very well here, he’s in great form and has come to hand very quickly,” Ferguson said.
The prospect of another heavy track in Sydney this weekend doesn’t worry Ferguson with Polarisation having handled rain affected back home in England.
“He handles the soft well, we don’t mind if there’s more rain,” Ferguson said.
Polarisation has drawn barrier seven in the nine horse Chairman’s Handicap field and Kerrin McEvoy will be wearing the Godolphin royal blue colours.
The John O’Shea trained Alegria will also be carrying the royal blue Godolphin colours in the Chairman’s Handicap and will jump from barrier six with Hong Kong’s leading jockey Joao Moreira in the saddle, taking over from Corey Brown.
Alegria has been unable to find the winner’s stall from three starts this campaign with two placings and a last start fourth to in the Group 3 $150,000 Bradford Black Epona Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on March 18 but O’Shea said that the five year old mare is ready to breakthrough for an overdue win.
“Alegria’s been set for this race, she’s ticking over very well and she’s very effective in the ground, so there’s no reason why she couldn’t be competitive again,” O’Shea said.
Alegria at $9 is slightly ahead of Polarisation at $9.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Chairman’s Handicap while the Darren Weir trained Big Duke sits at the top of the market order at $2.50.
In Sydney Cup betting Polarisation is listed as a $9 chance while Alegria is one of the outsiders at $101.