The Australian Turf Club (ATC) may have extended entries for the feature race at Royal Randwick on Boxing Day, but still only seven gallopers make up the Summer Cup field for Saturday including two Chris Waller-trained hopefuls.
Sydney’s dominant trainer for the past half-a-decade, Waller has won the past two editions of the $125,000 Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) that runs as Race 3 at 1:55pm (AEST) this weekend.
His back-to-back winner in the handicap clash, I’m Imposing, is back on Saturday looking for a historical third straight win for his swansong race appearance.
The 10-year-old son of Danehill Dancer successfully defended his Summer Cup victory last year on the back of a second in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at the same track over a mile.
This summer however I’m Imposing ran a well-beaten 12th to the favourite Happy Clapper in the Villiers on December 12 that he’ll be out to atone for on the weekend stepping back up to a more suitable 2000m.
From 11 previous runs over the distance the warhorse has recorded three wins, two seconds and two thirds.
His last 2000m run was in the Group 3 Craven Plate back on October 3 when third to Complacent, and for his final race on Saturday he jumps from barrier seven with Tommy Berry in the saddle.
Waller is also represented by this year’s Summer Cup top weight, his last start Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) winner Junoob to carry 61kg from gate six with Blake Shinn aboard.
An eight-year-old son of Haafhd, Junoob won the Ballarat Cup on November 21 and is back down to a distance he boasts a solid record over (15-6-2-2).
Originally recent ATC Cup winning mare Telepathic was also entered for the Summer Cup by Waller, but instead the five-year-old daughter of Mossman will run in the $85,000 TAB Rewards December Handicap (1600m) over less distance at the Boxing Day meeting.
Aside from Waller’s duo the only other horse allocated more than the 54kg minimum in the Summer Cup line-up is the Fred Cowell-trained Mighty Lucky who jockey Kathy O’Hara will ride on 56kg from a nice barrier two draw.
Two back the Casino Prince six-year-old took out the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill defeating a quality field before his last start fifth when crossing just over two lengths away in the Villiers Stakes.
He has had two previous Randwick runs without a top three finish and is also yet to be tested over the 2000m.
A late entry into Summer Cup calculations accepted into the final field is the Bjorn Baker-trained mare Sebrina.
The four-year-old daughter of Sebring was last seen running a devastatingly close second to Kontiki Dane over 1900m in a Benchmark 80 at Rosehill on December 19.
She is on the short back-up, but should be flying from gate five with Brenton Avdulla aboard as she drops from 60kg last time out to just 54kg this weekend.
The other most notable hope is the Allan Kehoe-trained Get On The Grange from Wyong who also enjoys weight relief as he prepares for a step up in class.
Getting the inside run from barrier one, a jockey still to be confirmed, the Home On The Grange six-year-old took out a 1900m Benchmark 72 at Canterbury on December 11 carrying 56.5kg and goes down to 54kg in the Summer Cup.
The Summer Cup is the last of the major Sydney Summer Racing Carnival features with the next Group status event being the $125,000 Group 3 Belle of the Turf Stakes (1600m) held at Gosford Racecourse on January 8, 2016.