Trainer Archie Alexander admits that Renew will face a tough task in the 2015 Sydney Cup, but he is confident the game stayer will have no problem running out a strong 3200 metres in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Renew has had three starts at a distance of 2800 metres or greater since he arrived in Australia in September last year and he finished a close second in the Visit Victoria Plate (2800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day, took out the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) and finished a gallant third in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville on March 9.
The Dansili gelding failed to fire in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 28, but Alexander told Racing Ahead that the five-year-old had plenty of excuses for the lackluster performance and will relish the step back-up to 3200 metres in the 2015 Sydney Cup this weekend.
“That is the one thing that we thought and that is his strength,” Alexander said.
“It is obviously a huge step-up in class and it is not going to be easy with some very good hopes in there, but he stays the trip and I think the ground is drying a little bit in Sydney and that should help.
“He is a two miler, so the drop back from two miles to a mile and a half on a very tight track wouldn’t suit him and he always had to be niggled out whereas in the two mile race he was able to find his rhythm and build off that.
“It was a disappointing run definitely, but there were a lot of factors that explain it.”
Renew is a grinding stayer that does not possess a great turn-of-pace and Alexander believes that jockey Tim Clark will need to settle the imported stayer at least midfield in the early stages of the Sydney Cup to be any chance of being a factor in the finish, but he does not want to see the tough galloper take up the running.
“We are well drawn, so I would say that we will be midfield and gradually creep into it like he in the Lavassa on Melbourne Cup Day,” Alexander said.
“I wouldn’t do anything too extreme, sit somewhere where he is happy and depending on the pace I wouldn’t want to be too far back, but he doesn’t want to be making the pace with the others either.
“It is a great honour and when I was setting up eight months ago I never dreamt that I would have a runner in the Sydney Cup in my first year and it is great for everyone and all the staff.”
Renew is currently available at 2015 Sydney Cup odds of $31 with Ladbrokes, while Godolphin stayer Hartnell ($2.30) is a clear favourite from Who Shot Thebarman ($4.60) and Protectionist ($4.60).