Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman finished first and second in the Sydney Cup last year and Chris Waller has confirmed that both stayers will head towards the Group 1 event again in 2016.
Who Shot Thebarman was a consistent performer during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he did not have any luck in running in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3, but he returned to winning form with a dominant seven lengths victory in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on November 24.
Waller told Sky Racing HQ that Who Shot Thebarman will end up in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 9, but he believes that the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 26.
“With Who Shot Thebarman I think that The BMW will be his target,” Waller said.
“He won with so much authority over that distance at Sandown and obviously it is a great lead-up to the Sydney Cup.”
Grand Marshal scored a massive upset win in the Sydney Cup last year and he performed well without winning during her spring preparation.
He started his campaign with credible efforts in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 5, the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) on September 19 and Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) before he produced impressive closing sectionals in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17, but he was one of several horses that was wiped out of contention by Max Dynamite in the Melbourne Cup.
Grand Marshal stepped back-up to 3200 metres for the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) and he finished a credible third.
Waller believes that the 3200 metres is the ideal trip for Grand Marshal and he will give her the opportunity to become the first horse since Tie The Knot in 1999 to win the Sydney Cup in back-to-back years.
“Grand Marshal is more a Sydney Cup horse than a The BMW horse, so that is his target again – to defend his title there,” Waller said.
“He is superior on a wet track and he will be hoping for a wet track.
“They are our main two for the Sydney Cup at this stage.”
Who Shot Thebarman is currently available at 2016 Sydney Cup odds of $11 with Ladbrokes, while Grand Marshal is priced at $21 to claim a surprise back-to-back win.