While fielding five classy runners in the final field of the featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick this weekend, leading trainer Chris Waller will be represented by only two entrants in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) for 2014; Opinion (barrier 14) and Brigantin (barrier 6).
While Opinion carries particularly consistent staying form into the major race, it is Brigantin that Waller firmly believes offers his stable the best chance of securing a second Sydney Cup title, having taken out the 2011 edition with classy gelding Stand To Gain.
“I have been very happy with the way he has gone this preparation and I think he gets to a trip that will really suit on a track that will suit him” Waller told Fairfax of the well-trialled seven-year-old.
“He has got a light weight in the Cup, which is part of the battle.”
Steadily building to the task this time in, the Cozzene entire finished fifth amongst classy competition in the December Handicap (1550m) first-up on December 28th and was unlucky when pipped on the line and second in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) next time out on January 10th.
Having produced a strong turn of foot to finish third in the Listed Australian Day Cup (2400m) on January 25th, Brigantin returned to the paddock for a brief spell before reappearing for sixth in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) on March 22nd.
Jumping only fairly in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in his most recent performance, Brigantin settled within the pack before again sprinting well to finish sixth in arguably his biggest test since arriving in Australia at the conclusion of his 2012 preparation.
“He is peaking” Waller added.
“I have been very happy with both his runs since a break and he will stay.”
Allocated the ideal barrier 6 for the 2014 Sydney Cup, Brigantin will be offered every chance of success this Saturday with in-form jockey Craig Newitt confirmed to take the ride.
Claiming the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) on March 1st most notably in 2014, Opinion will have work to do from the get go, having been allocated the wide and awkward barrier 14, and will be partnered by jockey Jason Collett for the first time competitively.