Big Duke ready for 2017 Sydney Cup replay

Big Duke

PUNTERS that backed Big Duke to win the 2017 Sydney Cup would have been disappointed with what happened at Randwick two weeks ago, but it could have been a blessing in disguise.

The Darren Weir-trained stayer was one of the horses which was pulled out of the race early once jockey Craig Williams was informed about the situation. That means it didn’t have to exert much energy and will be fresh for the replay this Saturday.

Weir stated the Sydney Cup favourite has since pulled up well from the run and is pleased with the decision to re-run the Sydney autumn carnival staying feature.

“He was pulled out at the 1000 (metres) so he didn’t have a hard time,” Weir said.

“We took him home to Ballarat and he’s fine.

“I’m glad they are running the race again.”

Godolphin runners Polarisation and Penglai Pavilion have stayed on for trainer Charlie Appleby – with Polarisation sure to be well-supported after winning the non-race the first time around.

Chris Waller will have Libran, Kinema and Who Shot Thebarman and he has cleared an injury worries around the former New Zealander.

“Who Shot Thebarman is fine. He was as good as gold after two days,” Waller said.

“Brenton Avdulla will ride Libran with Hugh Bowman suspended.”

Canberra Racing not concerned about possible Slipper move

Racing NSW have proposed to move the Golden Slipper to the end of March to kick off the Sydney autumn carnival and for many years the Black Opal Stakes at Canberra has been a vital lead-up race.

Canberra Racing chief executive Peter Stubbs isn’t concerned about the possible change as his club is looking to move the $275,000 feature to March 11.

“They’ve been talking about that now for a couple of years, certainly last year they were. Next year we’re on the Canberra Day long weekend, I think it’s March 11,” Stubbs said.

“Currently we sit two weeks before the Slipper next year, so if they move it another week we’ll just stay on the Canberra Day long weekend… if we end up being two weeks or three weeks, that won’t worry us too much.”

Stubbs doesn’t believe the change in dates will affect the history of the race and noted that the Black Opal is a better form race for the likes of the Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes, as opposed to the Slipper.

“If you look back in the history of the Black Opal Stakes and the Slipper, we’ve fluctuated between a month, three weeks, and two weeks,” Stubbs said.

“Probably ideally two weeks is better, but I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. I don’t think it’s really made a lot of difference to us over the years.

“Really the best results out of the Black Opal Stakes in recent years have been in the other group one races for two-year-old’s rather than the Slipper.

“The Black Opal really hasn’t been a very strong lead up race for the Slipper, but the Black Opal has been a strong race because we’ve had a number of group one winners out of it in recent years.

“I don’t think it really matters where we sit, as long as we’re a feature two-year-old and continue to produce good horses out of the race and good results.”

Chris Waller supports Harbour Bridge racing

A crazy idea could become reality with the concept of “street racing” on Sydney’s Harbour Bridge tipped to take flight.

Racing NSW has met with an English promoter about the possibility of racing on a portable turf on the Harbour Bridge and champion trainer Chris Waller believes it would be an amazing event if held safely.

“It would be amazing if they could get it up and running, and everyone would want to be involved,” Waller said. “There are probably a lot of things that have to happen before it happens.

“As long as it’s safe for horses, jockeys and everyone watching, I would definitely want to be involved and most trainers would.

“It would be an amazing event.”

NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley said it would be a great promotion for New South Wales, despite the idea being in its infancy stage.

“This would be a great promotion for Sydney and our NSW thoroughbred industry,” Foley said. “The state government and Destination NSW should back this and see if it could work.

“It is something that has everyone talking because it is so different.”

Denise Martin of Star Thoroughbreds believes stranger events have happened in the past and it’s something many racing fans would want to be a part of.

“It is one of those things that sound like a fantasy, but if it happened, you want to be a part of it,” Martin said.

“I think if you told people 40 years ago that you would go to cricket at 2pm and watch them played in coloured clothing under lights they wouldn’t have believed you.

“It is amazing what can happen with technology these days and it would something that you want to part of.”

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