The Group 1 $400,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14 will be the starting point for Sonntag’s Sydney Cup campaign.
Ballarat trainer Henry Dwyer devised the Sydney Cup plan after Sonntag won the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm during last year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival.
After his win at Eagle Farm Dwyer sent the then three year old to the paddock to recuperate after a tough campaign and mapped out a light Spring Carnival before bringing him back on a path leading towards the Group 1 $1.6m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 11, the second day of ‘The Championships’.
Two runs in the Spring saw Sonntag win the Listed $150,000 Eastcoast Plumtec Sale Cup (1600m) at Sale on October 26 before running eighth in the Group 3 $150,000 mypunter.com Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on November 15.
“Obviously the expectation is there when you’ve won a Group One,” Dwyer said.
“The idea was to give him a good six weeks up in Queensland and go to the Sale Cup first-up, the Eclipse Stakes and then back in the paddock.”
“It was always the plan to give him a light spring with the Sydney Cup as his focus.
“We want to get him there in the best possible condition.”
Dwyer is happy with the progress of his promising stayer as he goes through his paces heading towards his return to the race track in the weight for age C.F. Orr Stakes.
“He’s come back well,” Dwyer told TVN.
Dwyer will give Sonntag possibly one more run after the C.F. Orr Stakes in Victoria before heading north when he will target the Group 3 $150,000 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 14 as has first Sydney run.
The Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 28 is next on the agenda before tackling the 3200m of the Sydney Cup.
Sonntag has won four of his ten starts and has prizemoney earnings of $484,495.