Promising stayer Tally will be making his first attempt at running over 3200m when he lines up in the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup at Randwick on the second day of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
Tally is coming off a last start win in the 2400m Listed $300,000 Ladbrokes Mornington Cup at Mornington on March 25 and trainer John O’Shea is confident the four year old will handle the extra 800m of the Sydney Autumn Carnival’s feature staying race.
“It’s his first run at two miles (3200m) but we’re optimistic that he can run the trip,” O’Shea said.
Tally had to lump 59kg around Mornington and O’Shea said that the drop to 55kg in the Sydney Cup will be a great advantage.
“He drops down nicely in weight off a strong performance in the Mornington Cup where he had 59kg,” O’Shea said.
Tally hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since taking out the Group 2 $200,000 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Melbourne Autumn Carnival but has been Group 1 placed on two occasions since.
Twelve months ago Tally ran third behind Tavago and Jameka in the 2016 Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on a soft 6 track and then during the Melbourne Spring Carnival ran third behind stablemate Hartnell and Jameka in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Tally has been working up through the distance during his Autumn Carnival campaign and kicked off with first up third to Burning Front in the Group 3 $150,000 The Resimax TS Carlyon Cup over 1600m at Caulfield on February 11 before stepping up in distance for a third over 1800m in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Lager Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield on February 25.
O’Shea then gave Tally another taste of Group 1 company for a seventh to Humidor in the $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 11 before tackling the more suitable distance of the 2400m in the Ladbrokes Mornington Cup.
The prospect of another Sydney Autumn Carnival wet track on Saturday doesn’t worry O’Shea who said that Tally has performed creditably on rain affected tracks in the past with a record of one win and three placings on soft rated tracks.
“He’s been very effective at Randwick and very effective on rain-affected ground,” O’Shea said.
The Randwick track was rated a heavy 9 on Wednesday morning after receiving 68.4mm of rain in the last seven days with the Bureau Of Meteorology forecasting more showers for the Sydney area in the lead up to the weekend.
Tally has drawn barrier eight in the fourteen horse Sydney Cup field and will be ridden by Tommy Berry who will be chasing another Group 1 win over ‘The Championships’ after steering Chautauqua to a sensational last to first win in the $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Early betting for the Sydney Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au has Tally listed as a $13 chance while the Darren Weir trained Big Duke heads the market order at $2.70.
The in-form Big Duke is chasing his fourth win on the trot after victories in the Group 3 $200,000 Launceston Cup (2400m) at Launceston on February 22, the Group 3 $150,000 Irresistible Pools & Spas N E Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on March 18 and the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ last Saturday.
Big Duke will jump from barrier five with Craig Williams in the saddle again.