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Williams appeals to keep the ride on Big Duke In 2017 Sydney Cup

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Suspended jockey Craig Williams has lodged an appeal in an attempt to keep the ride on the pre-race favourite Big Duke in the rescheduled Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Craig Williams combines with Sydney Cup favourite Big Duke above, to win the Chairman's Handicap at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Craig Williams combines with Sydney Cup favourite Big Duke above, to win the Chairman’s Handicap at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Williams pleaded guilty to causing interference at the 400m when he allowed his mount and eventual winner Lopartego to shift out inconveniencing Rocbolt in Race 6 at Sandown last Monday and is appealing against the severity of the suspension which is due to expire at midnight on Sunday April 23.

Williams has been aboard the Darren Weir trained Big Duke for his last two runs that resulted with wins in the Group 3 $150,000 Irresistible Pools & Spas N E Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on March 18 and in the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 1.

Williams also rode Big Duke in the abandoned Sydney Cup that was called off mid-race on April 8 after the five year old was sent out as the $2.80 favourite.

Big Duke is the $3.20 early favourite for the second running of the Sydney Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au and Weir said that the promising stayer has taken no harm from the running of the original Sydney Cup after he was pulled up at the 1000m mark.

“Big Duke pulled out at about the 1000m mark but I don’t think it will matter either way,” Weir told The Daily Telegraph.

“They have two weeks to recover if they ran (the whole race) and there are smarter people than me making the decisions (to reschedule the race). But I’m glad they did.”

Weir’s original program saw Big Duke tackle the 3200m of the Sydney Cup a week after winning the Chairman’s Handicap but is confident the gelding has held his fitness to run out a solid two mile on Saturday.

“I think (he will run 3200m) but I would have preferred running him on the back-up, but it’s just the way it is,” Weir said.

“We have just kept him ticking over and we took him home (to Ballarat).”

Big Duke is one of sixteen stayers nominated for the rescheduled Sydney Cup with the Charlie Appleby trained Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion also entered for the re-run.

The two English stayers, Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion, actually completed the 3200m, finishing unofficially first and third in the Sydney Cup which was abandoned mid race after the Lindsay Park trained Almoonqith and Chris Waller’s veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman fell just past the winning post on the first lap of the track.

Trainer Chris Waller has given Who Shot Thebarman the all clear and has nominated him along with stablemates Libran and Kinema for the re-running of the Sydney Cup while original entries of Tally, Chance To Dance and Annus Mirabilis also among the nominations.

The Lindsay Park Team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig have nominated French import Harlem along with Boom Time who earned a shot at the Group 1 two miler after winning a 2425m $100,000 Handicap at Caulfield last Saturday.

Trainer Lee Curtis will give his Crown Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit a chance in the Sydney Cup after she pulled up okay after running third to Bonneval in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 8 with Bobby El-Issa booked to ride.

Early market order for the Sydney Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Big Duke, $5 Penglai Pavilion, $7 Polarisation, $9 Lasqueti Spirit, $11 Tally, $12 Chance To Dance, $13 Who Shot Thebarman, $17 Libran, $26 Annus Mirabilis, Boom Time, Kinema, Rock On, $51 Harlem, Self Sense, $101 Mister Impatience, Pentathlon.

Nomiations for the rescheduled 2017 Sydney Cup

# Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp Rating
1 527255×364 WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ) G 8 Chris Waller 1= 57kg 108
2 41112×8746 LIBRAN (IRE) G 6 Chris Waller 1= 56.5kg 107
3 02303×3771 TALLY G 4 John O’Shea 1= 55kg 105
4 450×423124 CHANCE TO DANCE (IRE) G 7 Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards 1= 53kg 100
5 0x77113510 ANNUS MIRABILIS (IRE) G 6 Stuart Webb 1= 52kg 98
6 1×42112111 BIG DUKE (IRE) G 5 Darren Weir 1= 52kg 104
7 70x41x7545 KINEMA (IRE) G 6 Chris Waller 1= 52kg 97
8 0100×60530 MISTER IMPATIENCE (GB) G 7 Michael Moroney 1= 52kg 98
9 3x0x85x10x PENGLAI PAVILION (USA) G 7 Charlie Appleby 1= 52kg 98
10 67379×9786 PENTATHLON (NZ) G 5 John Wheeler 1= 51.5kg 93
11 38x2x20x4x POLARISATION (GB) G 5 Charlie Appleby 1= 51.5kg 88
12 8241×02753 LASQUETI SPIRIT F 3 Lee Curtis 12 51.5kg 103
13 x311151651 BOOM TIME H 5 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig 13= 53.5kg 101
14 1x92384x38 HARLEM (GB) H 5 David & B Hayes & T Dabernig 13= 52kg 101
15 5213412413 ROCK ON (NZ) G 4 John Sargent 15 51.5kg 88
16 239×668564 SELF SENSE G 6 David Brideoake 16 51.5kg 87

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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