Nominations for the 2017 Sydney Cup are now out ahead of the two mile classic running at Royal Randwick on Saturday April 2 during The Championships featuring a strong line-up of international entries.
On Monday Racing NSW took nominations for all eight of the Group 1 races held over the opening two days in April, including those for the $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m).
Like all other races during this year’s The Championships, the Sydney Cup attracted a record 99 early entries, which is the largest the event has drawn in the four years it has been held during this time.
Australia’s other feature race contested over the two miles along with the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November, the Sydney Cup always attracts the season’s best staying talent.
This year though there is also a stronger than ever international flavour to the possible list of gallopers lining-up for a shot at the $1.17 million first prize on offer to the Sydney Cup winner.
“The ATC is particularly pleased with the increased interest from international stables in Japan, the UK and Hong Kong, with some very well-performed horses nominated for several races,” the Australian Turf Club’s CEO Darren Pearce told the media on Monday.
“We will now continue to work hard to ensure as many of these overseas nominations as possible make the trip and compete against Australia’s very best.
“This increase in international nominations demonstrates a growing awareness of The Championships across the racing.”
Irish horseman William Mullins has three Sydney Cup hopefuls entered with veteran 10-year-old Clondaw Warrior, the 2015 Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite and reigning Irish St Leger winner Wicklow Brave.
There are a number of Japanese stayers nominated for the event including Meiner Sage.
England’s Ed Dunlop is also represented by Trip To Paris, the Champs Elysees gelding no stranger to racing down under.
Trip To Paris ran second in the 2015 Caulfield Cup and fourth in that year’s Melbourne Cup behind Prince Of Penance.
“To have Ed Dunlop considering a return to Sydney is very exciting and we’re expecting a couple of horses from him to be nominated, including Trip To Paris,” the ATC’s General Manager of Racing, Wagering and International James Ross said.
Along with the local John O’Shea-trained entries for the Australian operation, internationally the Godolphin operation are in Sydney Cup contention with Penglai Pavilion and the Charlie Appleby-trained Echo Of Light gelding Polarisation.
“Godolphin are planning to target the Sydney Cup. At this stage they intend to send Penglai Pavilion and Polarisation,” Ross continued.
“It will be great to see Charlie Appleby in Sydney and his participation reflects the growing international focus of The Championships.”
Early Sydney Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au this autumn have the Chris Waller-trained import Kinema as the pre-field favourite, the galloper also holding an entry for the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on the same day.
Waller is in for a massive season thanks to the return of his glamour mare Winx who is first-up in this Saturday’s Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) chasing a fourteenth win on the trot.
The master horseman has also enjoyed plenty of success in recent Sydney Cup results.
He prepared Stand To Gain (2011) and Grand Marshal (2015) for their victories, also running the quinella two years back when the latter defeated stablemate Who Shot Thebarman.
Last year’s Sydney Cup also saw Waller prepare two of the first three over the line when the defending champion Grand Marshal and Libran ran third and second respectively behind Gallante.
The most likely to continue the gun run for Waller in the race this autumn is Galileo six-year-old Kinema who has had just the two runs down under.
Formerly prepared in the UK, Kinema debuted in Australia last spring running fourth in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) before winning a Benchmark 96 on Melbourne Cup Day over 2800m at Flemington.
Waller has a total of seven Sydney Cup nominations with Kinema joined by the likes of the aforementioned Who Shot Thebarman, last year’s runner-up Libran and third placegetter Grand Marshal.
The 2017 Sydney Cup first acceptances close on Tuesday March 7 followed by the final field out on April 4.