Everything – except the rain which just won’t stop – has gone to plan for Phillip Stokes’ Daqiansweet Junior ahead of the $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The South Australian horse mentor based in Victoria will be confident of a strong showing after the four-year-old saluted for Stokes last start in his hometown $302,250 Adelaide Cup (3200m) on March 14.
The $26 outsider set to carry 51.5kg is also looking good in trackwork. There’s just one slight drawback – the ongoing rain in the New South Wales capital.
“Everything’s gone to plan. He’s come through Adelaide well,” Stokes told HorseBetting.com.au.
“He does a lot of work at our farm. A Heavy 10 will give him a different test. He’s ran on a heavy track before and seemed OK.
“He runs the trip so there are a lot of positives, and I’m really happy with him.
“He’s only been exposed to a heavy track with us at Moe on his first run, and he seemed OK (finishing fifth in the $35,000 Ian Grants Caravans MB64 Handicap over 1600m on October 15 last year) so we’ll go off that.”
Stokes said veteran jockey Kerrin McEvoy should not have too many issues aboard Daqiansweet Junior.
“He (Daqiansweet Junior) will just settle in the midfield, like he does. He’ll get into a nice rhythm – he’s an easy horse to ride. He won’t have a problem with that,” Stokes said.
Stokes is confident his young stayer can back up in strong fashion after his 1.5-length victory in the Adelaide Cup last month.
“I thought I had him spot-on for the Adelaide Cup. He was a horse on the up in a low weight,” he said.
“I’d won it the previous year with a similar horse in Good Idea, so I knew the form there.
“Going up to Sydney is a different kettle of fish, but Good Idea didn’t disgrace himself last year (also a $21 outsider who carried 50kg and finished seventh).
“And I think this horse can go well with a good weight.”
Such is the grind of being a horse trainer, Stokes didn’t have too much time to celebrate his second consecutive Adelaide Cup triumph.
He got back to work soon afterwards in preparation for the Sydney Cup. But that’s not to say it would not be a massive achievement if Daqiansweet Junior was to triumph again on Saturday.
“It’d be huge. I won’t get ahead of myself, but it’s great to have a runner in it. And hopefully he runs well and does everyone proud,” Stokes said.