The Follow Files: Star stayers run good trials for Sydney Cup

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This week’s Follow Files will focus on Australian Cup Day from Flemington and Tancred Stakes Day at Rosehill from last weekend. The Australian Cup was the final Group 1 of the Victorian 2022/23 racing season, while the Tancred Stakes serves as the final Group 1 lead-up for the stayers who will push on to the Sydney Cup on the second day of The Championships at Randwick on April 8.

At Flemington and Rosehill, both tracks raced fair with horses winning from the front, midfield or the rear all day. Below you find three horses to follow from Rosehill and Flemington, with all three of them pushing on to Group 1 races during The Championships.

Rosehill – Tancred Stakes Day

Track rating: Good 4
Rail position: +5m 1400m to winning post, +4m remainder

Race 7: Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) | Time: 2:04.06

  • Horse to follow: Pierossa (4th)

After finishing fourth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes last Saturday, Peter & Paul Snowden appear to have a very nice staying three-year-old filly on their hands in Pierossa. This Pierro daughter has run well in her last two starts, finishing fourth last Saturday and third two starts ago in the Kembla Grange Classic. The winner settled four or five lengths ahead of Pierossa in both the Vinery Stud Stakes and the Kembla Grange Classic, and Pierossa was very good to keep that same distance between her and the eventual winner. This filly settles near the back of the field and runs on strong, as she has done in her last two starts, and with three runs back this season, she will be at her peak fitness when she competes in the Australian Oaks over 2400m on April 8.

When to bet: Pierossa is unlikely to run in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes after a tough performance in the Vinery Stud Stakes last Saturday, especially given that she will have to carry 61kg. As a result, we will be backing this filly in to run a big race in the Australian Oaks on the second day of The Championships, where she appears to be in very good shape to win her maiden Group 1.

Race 8: Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) | Time: 2:29.86

  • Horse to follow: Cleveland (5th)

Joseph O’Brien has sent five of his best stayers and middle-distance runners to Australia to compete in The Championships, and one of those runners is the five-year-old entire Cleveland. This lightly raced entire has only had nine starts in his career, with his first in Australia being a very nice trial for the Group 1 Sydney Cup in the Tancred Stakes, where he finished fifth sneaking up the inside of the rest of the field. This Camelot son is bred to go much further than 2400m, as evidenced by his recent win over 3749m at Chester. O’Brien clearly had this horse going very well at home before making the long trip over to Australia, and he demonstrated that last Saturday, so if all goes well between now and April 8, Cleveland will be one of the favourites in the Group 1 Sydney Cup in two weeks.

When to bet: As we mentioned above, Cleveland has been set on a Sydney Cup campaign and after his nice run in the Tancred Stakes over 2400m, we will be backing him in the Group 1 Sydney Cup to run a big race in his grand final.

Flemington – Australian Cup Day

Track rating: Good 4
Rail position: +8m entire circuit

Race 7: Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) | Time: 2:01.43

  • Horse to follow: El Patroness (7th)

Danny O’Brien’s four-year-old mare El Patroness appears to be doing very well this season as she prepares for another run at The Championships, but this time she is nominated in the Sydney Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on April 8. The daughter of Shamus Award will travel to Sydney after finishing seventh in the Group 1 Australian Cup last Saturday at Flemington. With three runs under her belt this preparation and such a strong performance at Group 1 level last time out, there is no doubt that she is in good enough shape to give any race of 2400m+ a good shake next time out. El Patroness travelled to Sydney around this time last year and won the Australian Oaks over 2400m on a heavy track.

When to bet: Patrick Moloney said post-race that El Patroness was “desperately unlucky” and that she would have gone close if she got the breaks that the winner did in the Australian Cup, which says to us that she is ready to win next start. Danny O’Brien hasn’t settled on the race that his mare will go to next, but wherever she lines up over 2400m+ we will be backing her with a lot of confidence.

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