Trainer Chris Waller has confirmed two runners is the final field for Saturday’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick, and is confident the major test for stayers will see its best edition for several years when jumping at 3:55pm.
Who Shot Thebarman won the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m), and undoubtedly leads Waller two-pronged attack after finishing an impressive third in the Melbourne Cup at the conclusion of a strong spring campaign.
Five-year-old Grand Marshal has steadily built to the task over five starts this time in and earned his position in the Sydney Cup with a credible run for third in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) on Monday.
Pleased with the condition of his two entrants, Waller has been impressed by the talent-rich field of 12 confirmed for the 2015 Sydney Cup and has identified Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist and in-form Godolphin runner Hartnell as the major race threats.
“There is no better form than the Melbourne Cup for a two-mile race,” Waller told AAP.
“Who Shot Thebarman has really matured. He is a much stronger horse and has had the perfect preparation.
“He was very good in the BMW and I have a lot of respect for Hartnell.
“He is the horse to beat and is dropping a lot in weight from weight-for-age.
“Grand Marshal has earned his place and won over 2800 metres at Flemington on Cup day in November.
“And Protectionist gets back up to two miles.
“It’s great to the first three in the Melbourne Cup in the race. Every Melbourne Cup placegetter should be in it.
“It’s the best Sydney Cup for some years.”
Placing a commendable fifth in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) first-up on February 28th, Who Shot Thebarman has found competitive condition in running fourth in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) and fourth in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) most recently.
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