The bookies may fancy the two internationally-trained Godolphin raiders in the Sydney Cup 2017 re-run this weekend, but the operation’s Australian head trainer John O’Shea believes local hope Tally poses a massive threat.
On April 8 the original running of the $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick was declared a no-race after the tragic fall and subsequent death of Almoonqith.
The unofficial result from the handful of stayers that ran out the entire two miles saw the visiting Charlie Appleby-trained duo Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion finish first and third respectively.
The Godolphin-raced stablemates were split by Chance To Dance and all three back-up in the rescheduled Sydney Cup field that features eleven of the original runners plus three new faces.
Tally also went around in the voided race, but O’Shea is far from concerned about him being over-exerted as the smart Street Cry four-year-old was pulled up at the 1200m.
“He definitely hasn’t gone backwards since the first running of the race and has come through the run well. He was pulled up at the 1200 [metres],” O’Shea told Racing NSW on Wednesday.
Officially Tally, a winner of six of his nineteen career starts to date, was last seen winning the Listed Ladbrokes Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 25.
That was his first win since the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) – Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) double in Melbourne last autumn, which he backed-up from to run third behind Tavago at Randwick in that season’s Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
Tally is as yet untested over further than a mile and a half, but dropping from his 59kg winning weight at Mornington to 55kg on Saturday is a big plus to help him run out a strong 3200m according to O’Shea.
“We’ve been really optimistic about getting him to two miles,” he said.
Before being promoted to Godolphin’s head trainer down under, O’Shea enjoyed a Sydney Cup success on his own with four-year-old mare Jessicabeel back in 2010.
Tally is out to be the first four-year-old Sydney Cup winner since and currently sits at an $11 quote to get the job done through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Jockey Tommy Berry is in the saddle chasing his second win in the classic after guiding the 2014 favourite The Offer to victory for Gai Waterhouse a few years ago.
This year’s favourite is the Darren Weir-trained Big Duke who won the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) and is now out to be the first winner of the double since the aforementioned The Offer.
The returning Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion are the other best in updated Sydney Cup betting markets, both English gallopers well-weighted on 51.5kg and 52kg respectively.
Tally is drawn the inside alley with barrier one on Saturday and Gallic in 2007 was the last Sydney Cup winner to salute from the gate.
Two emergencies are in need of a pre-race scratching to gain a start in the race with the John Sargent-trained Rock On (3) and the David Brideoake-trained Self Sense (4).
Racing NSW Stewards have permitted jockey Jeff Penza to be declared as the Sydney Cup jockey for both the first emergency Rock On as well as the replacement for the suspended Jason Collett aboard John Wheeler’s roughie chance Pentathlon.
If consistent Road To Rock four-year-old Rock On, last seen running third to Big Duke in the Chairman’s Handicap, gains a start Wheeler will be forced to find a new hoop for Pentathlon.