Head to Head
A detailed preview of Saturday’s feature Group 1 with Shayne O’Cass and Ray Hickson
1. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN
SO: What an amazing stayer this fellow is. He’s won $2.5m so far and I was told earlier this week he got bought out of a paddock in the South Island NZ for $10,000. This is his fourth Sydney Cup a row, he’s got two more to equal County Tyrone! The Barman is deadset two-miler, he’s good enough on wet ground, 57 is a decent weight but he’s earned it. Can see him in the frame.
RH: I think we agreed a couple of weeks ago you can never leave him out in a two mile race. The fact he’s here tells us that Chris Waller is very happy with him since the terrible incident in the first running of 2017 Sydney Cup. To be honest the fall leaves me a little less confident about him than I was a fortnight back but, you’re right, he’s an amazing stayer and you can’t dismiss him. 2. LIBRAN
SO: Last year’s runner-up, Libran has taken the WFA path to this year’s Cup so that explains the ‘8746’ alongside his name now as opposed to ‘4111’ then (as in 2016). It’s hard pin down exactly how he is going, the big plus is that The Gun back on, they have a great understanding. Another Waller proven two miler, how can you dismiss?
RH: You can’t and I do share your wondering about exactly what form he is in. He was one of the first pulled out of the race two weeks ago by the way. Also, for those who don’t know ‘ The Gun’ is Brenton Avdulla and Shayne is among his biggest fans. One thing I’ll say is that Libran will be better suited here than at WFA and if we are away from the heavy tracks he’ll be advantaged. 3. TALLY
SO: This son of Street Cry is on trial at the 3200m but he seems to have had a nice grounding into the Cup going 1600m, 1800m, 2000m and 2400m win in the Mornington
from last start. Barrier 1 and Tommy Berry, you’d think they get a cheap run. I have a feeling he’ll run the trip but I’d be happier with 52kgs not 55kgs.
RH: You should add the 2000m he galloped on April 8 to that tally about Tally! I really don’t know how he’ll go at the two miles but he’s pretty honest and class wise a Sydney Cup probably suits. It wouldn’t surprise to see him somewhere in the finish but I prefer the Godolphin imports. 4. BOOM TIME
SO: Boom Time is one of three horses (plus the two emergencies) that weren’t among the originals in the no-race Sydney Cup. This horse was down in Melbourne. He won a 2425m race at Caulfield last Saturday so he’s fit as a fiddle. He’ll be hard on the hammer of Lasqueti Spirit from outset, may even have to take the field up to her at some point. Can’t win though can he?
RH: By Flying Spur out of a Snippets mare...how does t hat add up to two miles? That said he did it pretty easily at Caulfield against, with due respect, lesser opposition. We can line him up with Tally though. He beat Tally home in the Australian Cup and wasn’t far behind at Mornington and they are on the same weight terms. Basically, if you give Tally a chance you give Boom Time a chance. 5. CHANCE TO DANCE
SO: He was sold for $260,000 at the Chairman’s Sale at Inglis in
days before the first Sydney Cup. Lloyd Williams has a record of selling horses that go on, Linton is one, Vengeance of Rain another. Chance To Dance’s only run at 3200m was fourth in the Adelaide Cup. Look, the big unknown is how Sydney Cup 1 affects him or otherwise.
RH: Of course he did run second two weeks ago, worn down by Polarisation. Whether that’s a guide I don’t know. His run was bit better than it looked in the Adelaide Cup and he’s down 5kg so that’s a plus. We’ve got to consider this will effectively be his third 3200m race in just over a month, though. 6. BIG DUKE
SO: He was my top pick for the Cup the first time around reasons being that he had/has no weight for a horse that is/was absolutely flying and had his preparation timed to perfection. We know the record of the Manion Cup and Chairman’s winners when it comes to Sydney Cup is compelling. Feel for Craig Williams but not a bad replacement in Glen Boss – he knows how to ride a two-miler!
RH: You know, the more I’ve thought about this race the I think he could be good thing of all good things. I know it’s a two mile race and I’ve jumped off him since cheering him home at Launceston but there are so many pluses. He was on the seven day back up going into first Cup so he’s virtually had a three week break between runs plus a 2000m track gallop. The weight drop is irresistible and he just has to be the one to beat. 7. HARLEM
SO: Harlem interests me greatly. This horse topped the Tatts Autumn Horses in Training Sale in our spring last year changing hands for 525,000 guineas which is a tick over $1m in our currency. I read at the time that the chap who ponied up dough bought Harlem specifically to win Sydney Cup! He’s a class act and fourth in the Kergolay which is a big, big pointer to Australian 3200m success.
RH: Interesting factoid there Shayno. The first-up run was great but I really don’t know what to do with him being left 20 lengths behind Winx on Cup 1 Day. He just didn’t go a yard and perhaps he’s not genuine wet tracker so the better the track the better chance he might have. Though he’s not in my thinking here. 8. ANNUS MIRABILIS
SO: You tipped him in the Adelaide Cup I do believe, well done, $9 winner! Okay given you know him so well, what happened in the Mornington Cup next time? He did a reverse Glastonbury! Any horse that is 1 for 1 at two miles and is by Montjeu will have my undying respect.
RH: Mornington was a total forgive run, he was back and they just weren’t running on. That said he didn’t make a length. He was hard at it to go with the first three home in the no race and wasn’t origi- nally going to contest this re-run. I don’t think a proper Glastonbury is on the cards. 9. MISTER IMPATIENCE
SO: How amazing, Hickson, that tomorrow will be the ninth 3200m race that Mister Impatience has contested. That’s a two mile race every 5 starts on average. I can’t say he looks to be going too flash but got beaten 10-lens the run before won the Wellington Cup. I guess it’s just a matter of how he feels when he turns up on Saturday.
RH: He was racing midfield when the Cup called off and was right on Polarisation’s back. He also not in the top eight in betting there for what it’s worth. Regardless of he might have done in the first running, I don’t see how a 12th in the Auckland Cup translates to success here. 10. PENGLAI PAVILION
SO: I still think this horse should have gone to Oakbank; he would
done the Von Doussa / Great Eastern double. Man, can jump! I read somewhere that the team put some winkers on his and he ‘responded’ in his work. That’s a positive. To be honest, I can’t get line on him but Charlie Appleby is one clever dude.
RH: He was my tip two weeks ago and based on what I saw there I’ve weakened a little bit but am heartened by Appleby’s comments since the winkers went on. The way Kerrin McEvoy is riding he’d win a Group 1 on a rocking horse so he has to be respected. He’s still Godolphin’s best chance in my view.
SO: I tried to get my little $5 ew on Kinema at $41 but when I go to the terminal he was $35. slide my fiver in and they ask me if will take $31! D’oh. Apparently he was pretty well backed on the day with corporates as well, I started to get a bit warm on him when track started to dry out. You and me said the same thing about him pre-Head 2 Head – his form is a lot like Grand Marshal before he won the Sydney Cup at $41. Kinema is in my three.
RH: The overs gods are cruel, aren’t they?! I didn’t think Grand Marshal could win his Cup and I’m just as confident that Kinema won’t win this one. I’m also more confident I’ll be right this time (so there’s a head on the chopping block moment). He’s had very heavy tracks to deal with but he hasn’t been hitting the line. 12. LASQUETI SPIRIT
SO: Loved your yarn on Lee Curtis today Hickson. He’s so right, big leaders make for the best racing memories. Lee mentioned Vo Rogue of course but who’ll ever forget Craig Carmody’s ride on Intergaze in the Australian Cup. Bold is beautiful! Give her strength. I’d love to see her run them off their pins tomorrow!
RH: It was some in the Oaks, after getting away slowly and having her ears ridden off for about 800m until she found the front. Then she had the audacity to keep going and even fleetingly look the winner. It’s going to take a super ride from Bobby El-Issa and one thing we know is she’s going to make this race exciting to watch. I couldn’t back a filly against these hardened stayers but will happily cheer if she’s in front at the 200m. 13. PENTATHLON
SO: I have never met John Wheeler but, like many, I regard him as a living legend of racing. Not just because of Rough Habit, but I read last week that he’s trained nine Great Easterns at Oakbank. know it’s a cliche we use all the time but J R Wheeler is a master conditioner. If you’re by Pentire, you nearly always run two miles. He’s my shock and awe roughie here Hicko.
RH: He was an outsider when he went around two weeks ago and he actually meets Big Duke worse at the weights for being beaten 13 lengths by him last start. He might be one to keep in mind for Oakbank in the next year or two. 14. POLARISATION
SO: He won the no-race we know that. I guess point to consider about that is not that he won, cause half the field was pulled up, but that he exerted so much energy. It’s like has to run two 3200m races in the space of weeks. I’m no horse whisperer but, honestly, you go back in history and horses were running four times in a week from 1200m to 2000m back again so it’s not like they are made of paper mache. Discuss.
RH: The bookies have certainly been spooked by him ‘winning’ the first Cup. In trying to answer your backing up question I noticed he raced five times in six weeks back in 2015 for two wins and a third. That’s unusual for Europe. His little issue, heat in a fetlock, that came up a week ago is little concern but on what we saw on April 8 he deserves respect. 11. KINEMA