Promising Godolphin import Hartnell is one of the headline first acceptances taken on Monday for the 2015 Sydney Cup on Day 2 of The Championships this April.
First declarations for all eight Group 1 highlights over the two meetings held at Royal Randwick on April 4 and April 11 closed today, including those for the $1.6 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
Last month there were 91 Sydney Cup nominations taken, but today the number of hopeful stayers still heading towards the two mile classic dropped to 44.
European import Hartnell is one of the best fancied in the futures Sydney Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes after his eye-catching second on debut down under on February 28.
The four-year-old Authorzied gelding took on the fellow John O’Shea-trained import Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm and was far from disgraced running a half-length away second.
He stormed up the Sydney Cup odds shortly after and runs again this Saturday in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes at Rosehill.
O’Shea and Godolphin’s other headline Sydney Cup hope this season is It’s Somewhat, the Dynaformer four-year-old debuting down under with a Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) victory on February 28 at Warwick Farm.
The other best fancied stayer along with Hartnell to win the Sydney Cup next month is then the Kris Lees-trainer Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist.
The Newcastle-based Lees took over the training of the former German galloper at the start of the year, the Monsun stallion debuting for his new tutor in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
As Lees suspected the 1800m first-up wasn’t to the five-year-old’s liking and Protectionist could only manage to finish four lengths away sixth to the winner Mourinho.
Protectionist and Hartnell are both also still in the mix for the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on the same day as the Sydney Cup, the lucrative weight-for-age feature attracting 66 first acceptors.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller has eight Sydney Cup hopes still in contention headed by his Auckland Cup champion Who Shot Thebarman.
The Yamanin Vital six-year-old, proven over the two miles in New Zealand, also performed well over the Sydney Cup distance down under last November when third behind Protectionist in the world’s richest handicap – the Melbourne Cup.
His first-up run was a stellar effort when fifth in the Chipping Norton over the mile when he flew from towards the back of the pack to cross only one and a quarter lengths off the winner, an effort that has him tipped for a huge campaign.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux is also back for a Sydney Cup bid this autumn, Ed Dunlop’s British raider the first international to travel over for a targeted autumn campaign.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup was Red Cadeaux’s fourth shot at ‘the race that stops a nation’ and the third time the now veteran nine-year-old, down to resume at Flemington in the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (3200m) this Saturday, finished second best.
As well as Red Cadeaux, the international presence is felt with the inclusion of John Moore’s Hong Kong champion Dominant who will stay on in Australia with a still to be decided trainer after the autumn.
The seven-year-old stallion was last seen running third to Designs On Rome in the Listed Centenary Vase (1800m) at Sha Tin on February 7, his last run in Hong Kong before his trip to Oz.
Rising Romance is another visitor, but from further afield.
Donna Logan’s New Zealand-trained Ekraar mare was runner-up in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) behind the ill-fated Japanese stayer Admire Rakti last spring and resumed with a win at home in mid-February.
Other well liked Sydney Cup chances include the Tony McEvoy-trained Adelaide stayer Big Memory, the Gai Waterhouse-trained import Greatwood and Henry Dwyer’s Queensland Derby winner last winter Sonntag.
The most noteworthy non-acceptor meanwhile is Rock Diva, the Tony Pike-trained New Zealander unlikely to travel down under this autumn.
Sydney Cup final acceptances close on Tuesday April 7 at 9am followed by the barrier draw on the same day.
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Ballot||Weight (kg)||Ture Weight (kg)||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1x221141x6||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Kris Lees||1||58||58||115|
|2||587x00043x||DOMINANT (IRE)||John Moore||2=||56.5||56.5||112|
|3||4x60x4726x||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop||2=||56.5||56.5||112|
|4||41x47226x1||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||Donna Logan||4||53.5||53.5||110|
|5||021x42x800||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||5||55||55||109|
|6||x861D70x00||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||6=||54.5||54.5||108|
|7||9x071103x5||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||6=||54.5||54.5||108|
|8||426x4381x5||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Peter G Moody||8=||54||54||107|
|9||51x20x260x||ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE)||John Sadler||8=||54||54||107|
|10||2x050160x8||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||10||52.5||52.5||104|
|11||x281023x43||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||11=||52||52||103|
|12||1135x4442x||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||11=||52||52||103|
|13||2145×52553||AKZAR (IRE)||Darren Weir||13=||52||52||102|
|15||5215565×47||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||13=||52||52||102|
|16||x22x310x71||GREATWOOD (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||16=||52||52||101|
|17||x5373350x1||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||16=||52||52||101|
|19||3x521167x2||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||19=||52||52||100|
|21||x405143x00||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||21=||52||52||97|
|23||1x9380x978||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||Chris Waller||21=||52||52||97|
|24||12x43054x2||WISH COME TRUE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||24||52||52||96|
|25||70x51362x8||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||25=||52||52||95|
|26||49×3574200||PERMIT (GB)||Chris Waller||25=||52||52||95|
|27||x630021x06||RENEW (IRE)||Archie Alexander||25=||52||52||95|
|28||6320x44x07||TREMEC (NZ)||John P Thompson||28||52||52||93|
|29||x78x2170x6||SABOR A TRIUNFO (CHI)||Peter & Paul Snowden||29=||52||52||92|
|30||x9x676x016||SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (IRE)||Peter G Moody||29=||52||52||92|
|31||723211×889||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||31=||52||52||89|
|32||7×01135316||SHOW THE WORLD (NZ)||Murray Baker||31=||52||52||89|
|33||6x0900x090||TUPAC AMARU||John O’Shea||31=||52||52||89|
|34||90x06x0748||ONLY A PLEASURE (IRE)||Archie Alexander||34||52||52||82|
|35||0x5177x053||RAWNAQ||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||35||52||52||79|
|36||6x52x31215||ARTIBAI (GB)||Kris Lees||36=||52||52||75|
|37||15x9768x08||BOOGIE SHOES (GB)||John Sargent||36=||52||52||75|
|38||x210321x07||DON DOREMO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||38=||52||52||72|
|39||136x31x31x||DOUKHAN (IRE)||Kris Lees||38=||52||52||72|
|40||7362535342||MARTINVAST (IRE)||Archie Alexander||38=||52||52||72|
|41||6341×85332||FELIX BAY||Kevin Moses||41||52||52||69|
|43||4×42133||MIDAS (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||43||52||52||65|